I just love English spinach. The leaves are so sweet and tender and you can toss handfuls into just about anything you’re cooking… salads and soups, stir fries, pies, you name it.
Spinach loves to grow in the cool season and I always look forward to this time of year when I can get a crop in the ground. It’s easy to grow and it’s a great crop for pots. If you can grow lettuce, you can grow English spinach and just like lettuce, you just pick the outer leaves as you need them. The harvest can carry on for a couple of months.
They need a sunny spot and a rich soil that’s been well prepared with plenty of compost, manures and some dolomite to sweeten it (if your soil is acid). Drainage must be perfect, so mound the soil.
The best way to plant is directly sowing seeds. Make furrows about 20-30cm apart, dribble in the seed and cover them with about a 10mm depth of soil. Water in well and keep moist until they germinate. Germination is possible in temperatures as low as 5ºC and takes about 10-14 days… soaking seeds overnight before planting may speed this up.
Each seed will produce a little clump of plants. Avoid trying to separate these - they hate root disturbance. As plants mature to a harvestable size thin them to about 25-30cm apart.
English spinach needs to be grown quickly so give plants a light side dressing of all purpose organic fertiliser once a month and kick them along with weekly applications of fish emulsion and liquid compost. That’s the secret to lots of sweet smooth textured leaves.
This really is one of the most beautiful vegetables to grow. Get in and enjoy it now!
First published: May 2010