The Secrets to Growing Healthy Spinach Indoors
As a kid Popeye was one of my favorite cartoons. He might have been a bit of a bumbler at times, but once he’d had a dose of his famous spinach he was ready to take on all comers.
It was enough to convince a young impressionable lad to give the produce as try and it quickly became one of my favorites. You might have come by your love of spinach a little differently, but if you love a little spinach with your dinner you may want to consider growing some yourself.
You can either use an Aerogarden and make life easier, or you can assemble your own setup.
The great thing about spinach is that you can grow it just about anywhere and it has a long growing season. It also happens to be a healthy choice for your family’s dinner table and that’s never a bad thing. It’s a dark leafy green with plenty of nutritional upside. It can help improve eyesight and contribute to a healthier heart.
You’ll do just as well trying to grow spinach indoors in containers as you will growing it outside – as long as you give it the care it needs. To help get you started we’ve put together some simple, but useful advice which you’ll find below.
Wide Not Deep
Spinach doesn’t need a deep pot to do well. Something between 6 and 8 inches deep is more than adequate. It is a good idea to consider some wider pots though as this will give it room to spread out and grow fuller healthier leaves. You don’t have to have wide pots.
You can grow some tasty spinach in some relatively small containers, but it will give you the best chance at success. I’ve seen spinach grown successfully in some pretty odd looking planter pots.
Nothing Wrong with a Little Shade
All plants need some sun to grow – it’s just that some need a little more than others. Spinach isn’t a major sun lover. It actually does quite well when it has a little shade for large portions of the day. This is even more important in hot conditions.
You don’t want to leave spinach sitting in the sun all day long if the room you have it in is already a little toasty. Your spinach will grow quite nicely with just a few hours of sun each day. If you find your leaves starting to look a little brown and wilted it’s probably due to overexposure to the sun and it’s time to find a new spot for your plant.
Safe from Bugs
We typically think that our plants are relatively safe from the scourge of pests if we keep them indoors and for the most part that’s true. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant in checking your plants for signs of damage from bugs.
They can get indoors and they’re often introduced unknowingly by the gardener when they add fresh soil. When you’re introducing a new potting soil mix to your pots take a quick look at what’s inside. Spinach leaves are quite a popular delicacy for those tiny little creatures that are unwanted guests in your plant pots.
Organically Rich Soil
Spinach may not need deep pots, but its health will largely depend on what you put in those pots. When you consider all of the health benefits it can provide it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn that spinach does need organically rich soil to grow.
You need to make sure you choose a soil with lots of nutrient and you should add new soil to the mix on a regular basis. It’s probably a good idea to place your plants in an entirely new soil bed each year as well if you want the best results.
Moist with Good Drainage
I’ve always wondered why so many amateur gardeners feel the need to water their plants excessively. They may think they’re doing the right thing, but they’re really not doing their spinach any favors with this approach.
Contrary to what you may have heard more is not always better – at least not when it comes to watering plants. Spinach does need soil that’s a little moist to the touch, but not overly so. It’s also important to make sure your pots have good drainage holes to dissipate any excess moisture that’s not needed.
Nitrogen Rich Soil
We’ve already talked a bit about the importance of nutrients in your soil, but there’s one in particular that you really need to take note of. The potting soil you choose should be rich in nitrogen and if it isn’t you may need to add extra fertilizer.
A good choice is a fish emulsion as it has a great reputation for helping get the most of vegetables grown indoors. Nitrogen helps your plants to grow more rapidly and without it you’ll struggle to produce the results you’re looking for. Quality fertilizers rich in nitrogen are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
A Versatile Plant
One other thing about spinach that you should be aware of is that it is a little more resilient than some other plants, herbs, and vegetables you may be used to. Many vegetables and herbs struggle until the soil temperature reaches about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spinach can begin to grow in much cooler soil temperatures. My mother begins growing her outdoor spinach pretty much as soon as the frost leaves the soil.
As long as the soil is above 50 degrees you can safely begin growing your spinach. This may not be a major concern if you’re growing your spinach exclusively indoors, but for those that want to do a bit of both this is an important consideration.
A Great Choice
Even if you’re not the biggest spinach fan you should give serious consideration to adding it to your indoor or outdoor gardens. There are few herbs or vegetables with as many great health benefits as spinach. After all, Popeye couldn’t have taken on Brutus without it! Today’s a great day to start growing some spinach indoors.