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Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Spinach

A Guide to Gardening, Growing and Harvesting Edibles
  -- By Jenny Sigler, SparkPeople Contributor
Spinach is intolerant of heat and "bolts" easily unless you plant specific heat-tolerant varieties. Spinach can be Savoy (curly)-leafed or smooth-leafed and is a delicious additive to soups, sandwiches, smoothies and salads.

Hardiness Zones:
5-10 (Find your hardiness zone.)

When to Plant:
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep directly into the garden in very early spring with successive plantings every few weeks to extend your harvest.

Conditions:
Rich, moisture-retentive soil in full sun to partial shade is ideal, although spinach can grow in almost any soil that is mixed well with generous amounts of compost.

Space Needed:
Allow 12 inches between rows and 6 inches between plants.

Maintenance:
Being heat-intolerant, spinach can tolerate some shade and actually prefers it in the hottest part of the summer. Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once or twice throughout the season for maximum growth. Weed and water the area well, mulching under the plants to encourage maximum moisture retention.

When to Harvest:
Harvest the outer leaves when they reach your desired size. Harvesting only the outside leaves encourages a steady pattern of growth. Alternatively, you can harvest entire plants at once.

Average Yield:
A 6-foot row of spinach will yield 5-6 pounds over a summer.

Continuous Yield:
Yes

Life Cycle:
Annual

Difficulty Rating (1-5):
1