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In this series I’m compiling the quick and dirty info on growing specific vegetables. Just the basics. No fluff, no frills. When you’re sitting down in the late Winter, surrounded by seed catalogs, and your garden plan in front of you, you want a quick reference. How far apart can you plant? What pH do they need? How much water? What vegetables can you plant next to others? Which should you avoid?
This quick and dirty 30 second guide to Spinach should help you answer all those questions quickly, without having to sort through article after article. I’ve always wanted a quick cheat sheet like this, so hopefully you’ll find it useful too!
While you plant spinach and eat it like other lettuce’s, it actually belongs to the chenopod or amaranth family. It’s more closely related to beets and swiss chard (chenopod family) and grains such as amaranth and quinoa (amaranth family).
Within the “spinach” family, there are different varieties that can be broken up into three categories: savoy, semi-savoy, and flat-leafed. Savoy and semi-savoy varieties have curly and crinkly leaves, where the flat-leafed variety is the one that’s most commonly found in the grocery store.
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains water-soluble AND fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It’s an incredible source of magnesium, iron, B Vitamins, Folate and vitamin K.
As far as whole foods go, spinach is the number one source of magnesium and iron. The more research that is being done, the more we’re understanding the importance of magnesium. It’s estimated that 80% of adults are deficient in magnesium!
In one cup of cooked spinach, you can get 987% (no – that’s not a typo) of your daily requirement of Vitamin K, 105% of Vitamin A, 84% of your daily requirement for manganese, 66% of Folate, 36% of your daily requirement for Iron, and 30% of B Vitamins.
In addition to being a nutritional powerhouse, spinach also contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. The high amount of chlorophyll (giving it it’s dark color) helps to regulate blood sugar and hunger.
If you’re growing Spinach this year, here’s what you need to know:
1 inch per week
Direct sow 4-6 weeks before last frost
Cabbage, Celery, Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes
Avoid Planting With
Space rows 12 inches apart
Keep cool in heat and keep an eye out for downy mildew
Saving The Seeds
Let a few of your best plants bolt and go to seed. Once plants are completely brown, pull up entire plant and let hang in a cool, dry place. Strip the seeds in an upward motion into a paper bag.