Spinach Growing Tips: Planting Time, Spacing, and Varieties

carton of spinach

As one of the most popular fall greens, spinach is a great crop to plant in successions and harvest for months. It loves cool weather, and can last well into the winter in most growing zones.

Spinach is easy to grow, but we still get a few questions on how to produce the best crop. Most of the questions about spinach revolve around three topics: planting times, spacing, and varieties. Let’s take a quick look at all three!

When should you plant spinach?

In northern growing zones, you may be able to grow spinach year-round, but that’s not the case for most areas. Spinach doesn’t germinate well throughout the summer, because the soil temperature is too high. For most areas you should wait until the fall and start seeding once the soil temp falls below 75° F.

Rather than seeding all of your beds at once, plant a new bed each week to extend the harvest and keep your harvest more manageable. In fact, you can keep planting successions late into the fall, to germinate overwinter spinach that will be harvested in the spring.

What spacing should you use?

Your spacing varies widely depending on when you plan to harvest your spinach and what you want from your spinach. For example, we’ll typically plant five rows per bed with 9-inch spacing. This is an intermediate spacing, and allows us to grow large leaves for bunching. We also grow small leaves for baby spinach, by tightening the spacing within the row.

But that spacing may not apply to you at all! For example, if you harvest early and pick baby spinach, you won’t need to space out your rows nearly as much. It all depends on the spinach variety and how early/late you plan to pick. Rows as close as 2” are good for baby spinach, while you may go up to 18” apart for large bunches.

Which varieties are best?

There are a lot of different spinach varieties, and the variety that is best for your farm really depends on your soil and growing zone. What matters more is that you plant different varieties in the summer and fall. If you are growing summer spinach, don’t just keep planting that same variety throughout the fall! Make sure you choose a variety that is suited for the seasonal temperatures.

Personally, a couple of the popular fall varieties we’ve planted are Space and Kolibri. Space is a pretty solid choice for most areas, but it’s fun to explore other varieties too. For example, Flamingo is more upright and suitable for bunching, and Lizard is great for the heat. Spinach varieties develop rapidly and are constantly changing, so it’s good to try a few new ones each year.


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