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How To Grow Spinach In The Fall: Grow your own spinach in your fall garden for long harvests and the best tasting spinach ever!
When you think about growing spinach the first thing that comes to your mind is probably spring gardening right?
But do you know that growing spinach in the fall is actually easier and gives you a longer harvest then spring grown spinach does?
Spinach often gets a bad rap for being hard to grow. This is usually because you are trying to grow it in the spring or early summer.
Now I wouldn’t give up growing spinach in the spring after a long, cold winter I’m just craving healthy, fresh greens from my garden. But I love that I can also enjoy them in the fall for a longer harvest time.
Fall is the perfect time to grow spinach because the days are getting shorter and cooler. The soil also stays nice and moist in the fall so you need to water less.
Gardening in the fall is actually one of my favorite seasons to grow in. The weather is more predictable and there are fewer pests than in the spring and summer. But it’s important to know when it’s the right time to plant each vegetable so that you can harvest it before your first frost.
I really recommend grabbing this FREE fall planting calculator. It’s so easy to use, just type in the date, your first frost date and you have a customized planting schedule that’s ready to use! Click here to get your free fall planting calculator!
Spinach is really easy to grow but the most common problem is that it bolts (goes to seed) to early in the spring.
Spinach bolting is triggered by hot weather and the daylight hours getting longer. Both of these really work against you when you try to grow spinach in the spring or early summer.
As soon as the weather starts to warm up spinach starts to get the signal to go to seed. But even if you have a cool spring the increasing daylight hours are a major trigger to the plant that it’s time to bolt.
Once spinach starts bolting the leaves get tougher and bitter. Not something that tastes very good!
When you plant spinach in the fall everything is working towards the plant not bolting. The weather is cooler and the daylight hours are getting shorter.
So when you plant it in the fall it has the perfect growing conditions that will give you a long harvest.
How To Grow Spinach In The Fall
The best time to plant spinach seeds for your fall garden is in mid-August in most growing zones. If you live in the deep south you can wait until mid-September.
Ideally, you want to give the plants a minimum of 6 weeks growth before your first hard frost in the fall. It’s better if you can give it 10 weeks so you can have a longer harvest. Which is why I’ve found that planting in mid-August works the best.
You can plant the spinach seeds directly into the garden 1/2 an inch to 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. When the plants have grown to be 2 inches tall thin them to 4–6 inches apart.
The smaller spacings are best for baby spinach and the wider spacings for larger, mature spinach leaves.
If you are having a warm fall, you will still have the shorter daylight hours to your advantage. But the hot days could still interfere with spinach seed germination or trigger it to start to bolt.
Keep the seed beds cool by watering them in hot weather. Keeping the soil moist will help it to be cooler and increase germination.
It’s also helpful to plant a few rows of spinach ever few days if the weather isn’t stable.
When the weather starts to get colder take some time to setup frost protection. Spinach is a very cold hardy vegetable but it will grow better and produce more if you can give it some protection from heavy frosts and snow.
How To Over Winter Spinach
Would you like to grow spinach through the winter?
There are 2 ways you can grow spinach in the winter and both are very easy to do.
Seeding Spinach In The Fall For Early Spring Growth
The first way is to start your young spinach plants in the fall so they will overwinter and begin growing again in the spring.
With this method, you will sow the spinach seeds in your garden 4 weeks before the first hard frost. Make sure to mulch the young seedlings well and just leave them alone after that.
Once the warm weather of spring arrives the spinach will start to regrow. This method will give you a very early harvest in the spring without having to bother with row covers during the winter.
Extending Spinach Harvest
The second way to grow spinach in the winter is simply extending your early fall planting. If you’ve already covered your spinach with hoops and a cloth row cover you can add a second layer of covering.
This will help to provide extra warmth and protection from the strong winter winds.
You can add a second hoop over top of the first ones and then add another fabric cover or a plastic cover over top of that.
The plastic row cover will provide more wind protection in the winter and also more warmth on sunny days. You will need to remember to clear the snow off of your hoop tunnels to keep them from collapsing under the weight of the snow.
Plastic covers will also need to be vented on sunny winter days, while the fabric covers will self-ventilate.
See growing spinach in the fall is a great idea! It’s easy to grow and will give you lots of tasty, healthy greens through the fall and early winter.
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.