Spinach, like most other green vegetables, tends to do best during the fringe months of the growing season. Summer is often too hot for this delicate plant. If you live in a mild climate, winter may be perfect, but in many areas, spring and fall are the best time of year to grow spinach outdoors. Those seasons tend to be brief, which may limit how much spinach you can actually harvest. However, if you want fresh spinach year-round, it is easy to go about growing spinach indoors.
Equipment and supplies needed
Spinach doesn’t require a lot of depth from a container. Instead, you are going to want to focus on width. You can grow one plant per pot, or you can find a wide container that will allow you to place multiple plants. HM&DX’s Raised Garden Fabric Planter is a perfect solution for growing spinach indoors.
Fabric grow bags, in general, provide ample drainage, which is necessary for a spinach plant. This particular fabric bag is long and has six different slots, allowing ample space for multiple plants.
As with any plant, you are going to want high-quality soil for your plants. The best soil for spinach, in particular, is one that drains well. Perfect Plants’ Organic Potting Mix is great for both indoor and outdoor plants and is blended with perlite to help improve drainage. While organic soil isn’t absolutely necessary, it does contain fewer chemicals and may produce healthier plants.
Of course, you will need spinach seeds. There are many different types of spinach out there, so have fun experimenting with different varieties. If you already know which one is your favorite, you may want to grow that, exclusively. But if you haven’t tried them all, you may want to pick up a few different types of seeds. Just be sure to label each plant so you can tell them apart.
Even with a high-quality soil, your spinach plants are going to need some added nutrition in order to reach their full potential. You can either regularly mix liquid fertilizer in with your water while feeding or mix ground fertilizer or compost in with your soil prior to planting.
Liquid fertilizer requires less work up front but more work in the long run, whereas mixing your fertilizer with your soil does require a bit of effort initially but less work overall. Alternatively, you can also use homemade compost as fertilizer.
If you don’t have compost, EcoScraps Leafy Green Plant Food is similarly effective.
Because spinach is a cool-weather crop, it doesn’t need an abundance of sunlight. In fact, this plant does best in shadier environments. Still, it does require some sun to grow. If you have access to natural light, you can simply use your curtains or blinds to control the amount of light the plant receives. Otherwise, you can invest in a grow light with a timer, such as the Otryad Grow Light For Indoor Plants.
While your spinach will do most of its growth in a larger container, the initial seedlings should be sprouted in a smaller grow tray. These six-cell trays from 9GreenBox are perfect for the job.
Growing Spinach Indoors in 6 Easy Steps
Step one: prepare your space
The first thing to do is to make sure you have an area set up for your spinach to grow. If there is natural light, be sure you have a way to filter it, either using curtains or blinds. If not, be sure the grow light you chose is properly installed and the timer is set to mimic the natural day and night light cycle. Place drip trays on your table, shelf, or windowsill– wherever it is that you will be placing your seed trays and, eventually, your containers.
Step two: plant your seeds
Fill each slot in the seed tray up with your soil. Then, dig a small hole about a half-inch down. Place the seed inside and cover it with dirt. Water the plant each day and wait for the plants to germinate. Usually, you will notice a stem popping through the surface of the dirt within the first two weeks, although it may be sooner. During this time, you will want to water your plants daily.
Step three: prepare your container(s)
Next, pre-mix your soil and fertilizer, if you are going that route. Fill your permanent spinach container(s) with the soil mix and find a good spot to put them. They should have access to controlled lighting and the temperature should not be too warm or too cold. Remember, spinach is a cold-weather crop. If your room is consistently 80 degrees Fahrenheit, your plants may not do very well.
Step four: transplant your spinach
Once your spinach plant(s) have grown a leaf or two, it’s time to transplant them from the seed tray and into their permanent home. To do this, scoop out some of the soil in your container to make room for the spinach plant. Carefully dig the plant out of the seed tray, making sure not to damage the root system. Gently place the plant inside the hole in the container and fill the hole in with soil, burying the spinach up to the stem. If you are planting multiple spinach plants in the same container, leave about three inches of space between them.
Step five: water your plants
Spinach requires soil that is wet, but not too wet. This can be a bit of a balancing act. You may not need to water your plants every day unless you live in a dry climate. To determine if you need to water your spinach, simply touch the soil. If it feels dry and crumbly to the touch, it’s time to water. If the soil feels damp, it’s perfect. Try to avoid overwatering, as that may drown your spinach plant.
Step six: harvest your spinach
Spinach is usually ready to harvest within one to two months of planting. You can harvest the plant while it is young and the leaves are small, or you can wait a bit longer for the leaves to grow larger. It has a slightly different taste depending on when you harvest, so it may be worth it to try harvesting at various stages to see which you like best.
Generally, you will want to wait to harvest until the plant has a minimum of five leaves that are at least four inches large. You don’t want to go too long without harvesting, either, as the plant may begin to bolt. If that happens, the leaves will develop a bitter taste. Bolting can also occur if the plant is kept in warm conditions.
Spinach is a versatile plant that can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, and many other dishes. If you want to enjoy garden-fresh greens year-round, it is worthwhile giving a try to growing spinach indoors.