Spinach is one of the easiest vegetables to grow and harvest. It makes for a great addition to any meal. Harvesting spinach isn’t that different from collecting beet greens.
But, to get the harvesting right, you need to adjust the sowing and planting dates. Spinach is a sensitive plant to ground temperature.
It needs enough time and warmth to thrive. If you control the planting and sowing process, it’s much easier to harvest the plant properly.
In this post you will learn how grow your own spinach and how to harvest spinach.
Here, we will lay out all the necessary guidelines that will help with the harvesting process. So, let’s get right to it.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Right Way to Harvest Spinach
- 2 Guideline on When to Plant and Harvest Spinach from Your Garden
- 3 Picking Mature or Baby Spinach Leaves
- 4 Deciding Whether to Cut the Leaves or Pull the Stem
- 5 Picking the Right Time to Gather the Veggie
- 6 FAQ
- 7 Conclusion on How to Harvest Spinach Plants
The Right Way to Harvest Spinach
This vegetable is rich in iron and vitamin C, making it an essential ingredient in numerous dishes. It is a well-known plant for being low-maintenance and easy to harvest.
If you know what you are doing, you will always get it right. Here are the easiest steps to harvest spinach.
- Step 1: Choose which leaf you want to harvest: baby or mature leaves. Baby leaves are smaller and sweeter. While mature leaves tend to grow bigger.
- Step 2: Decide whether to cut leaves or pull the stem. Chopping a couple of leaves of the spinach at a time allows it to regrow. Removing it completely ensures a bountiful instant harvest.
- Step 3: Don’t wait too long to harvest. Avoid letting the spinach reproduce and turn “bolt”. This will affect the flavor of the harvest.
Want to know more? Check out the information below. We compiled some practical info that will help answer any of the questions you might be having.
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Guideline on When to Plant and Harvest Spinach from Your Garden
Below is an outline of when to start planting your spinach seeds to when you should be harvesting your spinach plants from the garden.
Remember, spinach plants are a great companion to other vegetables and herbs to grow next to each other.
|Calendar for Growing and Harvesting Spinach|
|Sowing seeds outside||3rd week of March|
|Sowing seeds inside||1st week of April|
|Planting seed sown outside||Last week of April|
|Thinning out seedlings||Last week of April|
|Harvesting spinach||3rd week of June|
|Sowing spinach in autumn||2nd week of September|
|Harvesting spinach in autumn||Last week of October|
Picking Mature or Baby Spinach Leaves
Spinach is best harvested when the greens are super tender or extra big. When the leaves are large, it means they have matured properly.
Baby spinach features a soft texture and milder taste. Because of how subtle they are, people love to use them in fresh salads.
But, if you want a more filling food, then it’s best to harvest mature leaves. They have a more peculiar flavor since their stem turns fibrous with age.
The mature leaves are best cooked and may not be a good idea to eat raw.
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Deciding Whether to Cut the Leaves or Pull the Stem
Don’t want to harvest the entire plant? You can cut some leaves and leave the rest for later harvesting. The best way to do that is to remove a couple of leaves on the outside of the veggie.
That way, the spinach will keep creating new leaves.
But, to really make the most of it, you should pick the mature leaves first and leave the smallest for last. Don’t pluck over 50% of the foliage.
Otherwise, it will get in the way of its photosynthesis and the plant may not create further growth.
Picking the Right Time to Gather the Veggie
The right time to harvest spinach is to pick it before it bolts. If there is a stem coming out of the foliage, then the veggie is focusing on reproduction.
Spinach can flower and set seeds. When that happens, it is time you remove the plant completely.
Otherwise, its quality could drop the moment it begins to seed. As a result, the leaves develop a bitter flavor. Be sure to pay close attention to your spinach.
The reproductive process leaves a small window for you to pick the veggie. So, you want to make the most of its flavor.
My First Harvest Doesn’t Have Much Spinach, Am I Doing Something Wrong?
It’s completely normal when you grow spinach and harvest for the first time to yield only a few spinach leaves. These are plants after all and it takes time to grow your spinach.
It may be difficult to create a full meal. But, if you mix it with other leafy greens like kale or lettuce, you can make a solid meal.
Can I Remove the Entire Head?
Absolutely. If you want to harvest the head, you can do that too. But, make sure to take out the whole head at once. The easiest way to harvest the head is to take the plant by its foliage.
Take a knife and cut the stem that’s closest to the soil.
In case you want the crown to grow new leaves, leave it behind in the soil, and it might sprout for 3 to 4 harvests. However, that highly depends on the climate you live in and the conditions for growing.
What Are the Best Tools for Harvesting Spinach?
A knife, gardening shears, or scissors will do well. As long as they are sharp enough, they will definitely come in handy. To cut it right, begin with the oldest outer leaves, then slowly work your way towards the center.
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What Happens If I Don’t Harvest It?
If you don’t cut the plant and let it grow, it will speed up its decay time. The leaves won’t be able to live too long and can turn bad. The simplest way to preserve the vegetable would be to give it a thorough cleaning.
After harvesting the spinach, you should rinse and soak it a couple of times to get rid of the dirt, damaged, and discolored leaves.
How Long Does Fresh Spinach Last After Harvesting?
You can keep the spinach in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 days. The ideal storage temperature is 5 to 10 Celcius (41 to 50 F). You can use a plastic bag to keep it intact.
Also, make sure to handle the leaves with care. This vegetable is very gentle and susceptible to bruising. So, it is essential to think about preserving its shape and color.
If you want to keep your vegetables fresh after harvesting them, try a vegetable container that helps keeps them fresh longer.
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Conclusion on How to Harvest Spinach Plants
As you can see, harvesting spinach is not as hard as it looks. When you know exactly when and how to pick the leaves, you will always harvest a tasty product. Have you tried harvesting spinach before? How did it go the first time? Share your experience in the comments below!
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.