How to grow spinach

How to grow spinach is as easy as pudding and pie; actually it's even simpler. It is surely one of the most nutritious vegetables to plant but like all gardening there are vagaries that may mystify and confound. 

In particularly it is rich in folate, one of the most important vitamins, not that they should be ranked; and lutein, the phytonutrient that is so important to prevent macular-degeneration and cataracts.

If you won't eat your greens there is a fair chance that a doctor is going to be poking a very sharp instrument into your eye one day; the thought does not appeal to me. I would rather learn how to grow spinach; and kale too.

Mature spinach patch

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 6th April, 2024.

Every garden, yes, without exception should have a small spinach patch. One square metre is adequate for the young family, cause it just keeps on growing and unless you live in the frozen-north, in the spring it will shoot up again.

It may be legend about Popeye but it is now based on sound science that spinach is the richest source of magnesium. A deficiency is one of the main causes of chronic-arthritis; and heart conditions too.

Research shows that ten percent of 60-year olds will have too little magnesium from their food; that is the major cause of chondrocalcinosis which causes degenerative cartilage disease. Are you one of them? Growing spinach is the easiest thing in the world; dinkum.

These days there are so many delicious spinach-recipes to choose from.

Today we enjoyed a fresh spinach salad with apples and avocado; not one blade was left uneaten.

One of the oddities in South Africa is that what we call spinach is in reality Swiss chard.

If the leaves are mature, then I like to devein them. Here are more recipes for Swiss chard.

Start by choosing a piece of empty ground in full sun. It could be a long line; in that case about 3m long. Or it could be about one square yard. It takes no more than half an hour to get your spinach plants started.

Late spring or autumn is best to start growing spinach, and then perhaps plant seedlings several times in the summer if you have the space.

Do not buy plants, it is dead easy to grow from seed; transplanting is a fag and sets them back.

How to grow spinach

Knowing how to grow spinach is so important for our well-being because it is the richest source of magnesium; a deficiency causes chronic arthritis and it is also important in minimising homocysteine levels in the blood.

Now you want to know how to grow spinach. Get out your hoe and a rake, and clean off any weeds; or remains of any plants from last season.

Next if you have any compost available, dig a shallow trench (perhaps 6 - 9"). This is the only part requiring a bit of sweat; if the ground has not been dug over for a few months, it will take some time. But this row took me no more than 5 - 10 minutes.

Last summer I was GROWING CHICKPEAS followed by a winter beetroot crop. Now it is time, using standard rotation methods to plant a leafy crop; spinach plants.

The nitrogen fixed in the soil from bacteria on the roots of the chickpeas, which are legumes, means we will not need to use inorganic fertilizers. The liquid that drips from the worm farms is a great help in that regard too; it's called vermi-leachate.

spinach plot in open ground

Instead of digging trenches for the compost, you could experiment with a chicken tractor if you have hens. It's a mobile cage that can be moved about the garden, cleaning out the remains of the last crop; all the weeds and dropping nitrogen-rich manure onto the ground.

Digging that trench certainly gets harder as you get older and really the chooks do an even better job that we can; plus the golden-yellow yoked eggs are for real and not dyed with some chemical in their food.

Choose from a chicken tractor design like this one; they come in all shapes and sizes.

Spinach needs compost so dig a trench

When I announced last year in Holland that I was going into semi-retirement there were pointed remarks about going to sit behind the Cape Violas, a Dutch idiom for the life of a couch potato. For the record, I left these plants in situ; they are so lovely and I am digging in front of them, not sitting behind them. And tomorrow morning I have ten patients.

Viola flowers catch they eye whilst spinaching

You know what's really surprising? I too have lower back problems but the more physically-hard gardening I do, the less trouble I have. But I do lower back exercises very faithfully every morning in bed before arising. And have a monthly treatment from my DC, happily my daughter.

She is pregnant right now, our first grandson and does this variation of the lower back exercises. First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed is the right time.

Then I half filled the trench with one wheelbarrow load of compost. Growing spinach is not difficult but they are heavy feeders; and if you want organic veggies, then you need rich hummus. You can toss a handful of inorganic fertilizer into the trench if you are not wholly committed to natural methods.

Well matured compost for spinach


If you do not have compost, do not despair. Spinach plants are very hardy, they just won't be quite so delicious and nutritious. Then use your garden fork to turn the sod, followed by the rake to get any clods out of the way.

Now cover the compost with the soil you dug out of the trench, and rake it smooth, making a small drill about an inch deep for the seed. Growing spinach plants could not be easier. Just drop them in about a few centimetres apart, and about half an inch deep. They are very robust; you don't need to fuss over the depth.

Use your hoe to drag some soil over the seed in the drills,and gently pat it down. If the ground is very dry and no rain is expected, then a gallon or two of water sprinkled over the seed will hasten the germination.


My forebear CS Lewis brought new meaning to the word pride.

When you're proud you have already fallen.

My spinach crop was a disaster. I'm not sure if it was old seed that was the cause, a very hot spell, or the fact that our dogs used that corner for a Indy 500 track until I put some sticks up - too late.

Planting spinach seeds

So this is last year's spinach patch, still bearing prolifically.

New seed and cooler weather, the next planting was a great success. Why do I admit to a failure on a growing spinach site? Nothing works all the time; but really 19/20 your greens will be a breeze.

Mature growing spinach plant

FRESH SPINACH SALAD RECIPES could be yours too! This is now our fourth patch so we have greens almost every day.

It may be coincidence, or nothing to do with the spinach, but I have been having a lot less of those miserable cramps in the calf muscle in the early hours. They are caused by a mineral deficiency, often magnesium or zinc, but it could be a host of minerals, and it is very difficult to determine which is the villain. How to grow spinach has much profit, aside from the taste.

One of those benefits is that the straining over rabbit pellets days are over. Going to the toilet is such a pleasure. Two minutes and you are don.e

If a straight spinach salad seems a bit too much, soft butterhead lettuce makes your greens lighter.

Spinach benefits in a basket.


GOOD FOOD, MADE FAST is my motto, and nothing could be truer than how to cook spinach. Ten minutes from picking you can have your spinach plants on the table!

Follow me this morning as we have poached egg on spinach for breakfast... eggs florentine.

First wash the spinach...

Before cooking wash the spinach.

I confess to being less than partial to the stalks, so I quickly slice them our with a sharp knife. The dogs get them in their dinner; they eat healthily too!

Then slice the spinach leaves into smallish pieces, and drop them into the pot. They boil down to nothing, so pile them up.

Before cooking destalk the spinach.

Add just a tad of hot water, and boil hard for about five minutes, depending on how mature the leaves are, with the lid on. How to cook spinach couldn't be easier.

Creamed spinach recipe starts with steaming

Eggs Florentine

Eggs Florentine is our favourite breakfast; we enjoy it almost daily. The rich green phytochemicals plus the protein and vitamin B12 in eggs makes for a perfect food. Plus it has zero starch if you're concerned about your weight, or are on the banting diet.

Then, if you want a divine, healthy breakfast, just drop a couple eggs onto your steaming spinach. With a dribble of lemon juice and a smidgen of garlic, on toast, it's called Eggs Florentine ...

Hollandaise sauce

Trust the Dutch to come up with a sauce so disgustingly delicious and UNhealthy as Hollandaise sauce! Bourgondisch eten is the phrase word in the Netherlands. Delic food, but this is seriously bad for you, if your cholesterol is raised. It's little wonder that "krans-ader klachten" (coronary artery problems) are so serious in the Holland.

On the positive side, though, you only need a tablespoon of Hollandaise sauce on your poached egg, and you don't need then to butter you toast. It's all in the sauce. How to grow spinach, how to make eggs Florentine, how to cook spinach; if I can do it, so can you!

Hollandaise sauce on eggs benedict

Enjoy your Hollandaise sauce with a good helping of this sauteed mushrooms recipe on the side, or one of these fresh tomato recipes and then you can shed all your guilt. Eggs Florentine every Sunday morning, once a month with Hollandaise sauce. That you can justify.


Spinach is rich in phytosterols, the green stuff that prevents and cures prostate problems. Even better, though, is an avocado a day, guaranteed to prevent your husband's prostate problems. Just read all the research about beta-sitosterol, the phytosterol that does the trick.

Find the links to those topics highlighted in bold by copying and pasting into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left. 

Magnesium heart

Magnesium heart is a very interesting and important page, especially if you have coronary artery disease in the family.

The heart is just a specialised muscle, and has all the same requirements as any other muscle; I mentioned the calf cramps above. The benefits of magnesium for the heart are now well researched, and Popeye food is the richest source.

Because spinach is so rich in the vitamin folate, it's highly recognised in the prevention of frailty syndrome, the premature loss of energy, vitality and muscle strength. Read more about the other three preeminent nutrients that are so important to take us through to a happy, healthy eighty with all our joints and marbles intact.

Bernie's delicious spinach dip

Every salad needs a dressing of sorts. This is the one the family raves about.

Once you know how to grow these dark green leafy vegetables then you had better learn to make BERNIE'S DELICIOUS SPINACH DIP.

Hot humid summers

Hot humid summers are not to spinach's liking; the plant gets a fungal disease on the leaves making them inedible.

Rather then rely on the nutritional value of kale in summer; it seems to be more resistant to the fungal diseases, grow your spinach in the cooler, drier weather.

Mouldy spinach


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