Mastering Spinach Harvesting: A Comprehensive Guide

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shrutika Lifestyle
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We all know how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and green leafy vegetables are one of the best ways to do so.

When we think of green leafy veggies, Spinach often comes to mind which is known as épinards in French, spinazie in Dutch, and palak in Hindi. They can be easily grown in home gardens.

Spinach is a versatile vegetable that is used in many different cuisines around the world. From Italian pasta dishes to American spinach artichoke dip, spinach is a crowd-pleaser that can even be enjoyed by those who don’t love bitter greens.

Organic and fresh spinach leaves close-up.
Source: Pixabay

No matter how you cook it, spinach maintains its nutritious value, making it a great addition to any diet. By including spinach in your daily health routine, you can lead a healthy life. Loaded with iron, zinc and many other nutrients, it has many health benefits.

Some people believe that it can be eaten raw, as cooking it will make it lose half of its nutrients. As it is low-calorie, it will help you overcome obesity, reduce blood sugar, and prevent dangerous diseases like cancer. Spinach is also good for your skin, and hair as it is a good source of anti-oxidants

Healthy Chicken Spinach Salad Recipe
Source: Pexels

1. Seasons To Harvest Spinach

Spinach can be sown in three different growing seasons in which spinach seeds can be sowed. Early spring, late summer and late fall to mid-winter are the different spinach growing seasons. Spinach is a fast-growing plant and doesn’t take much time to grow. It only needs the perfect temperature to yield leaves in a short period.

What makes spinach a cinch is that it can also be grown in partial shade as well as in the full sun. Like any other plant, the seeds of spinach should be healthy and one must water regularly to the seed until it starts to germinate.

Amid early spring and fall, it starts to grow leaves. Spinach requires a suitable temperature between 35 and 75 degrees. This would let the plant bolt. It also needs well-drained soil along with organic matter like compost manure and Insect Control. For most succulent leaves, allow the plant to grow fast without any fertilizer interruption.

When To Harvest Spinach? Close-up of spinach leaves still growing.
Source: Pexels

Yes, harvesting spinach can be possible in cold regions as well. People living in cool areas eat and cook more spinach as it provides warmth to the body. Spinach is a cool-weather vegetable.

People living in cold areas tend to use different planting methods to grow Spinach. Gardeners cover plants with hay and relinquish them all winter. Interestingly, this is the first produce of early spring. 

We’ve talked about winter and fall being the best weather to grow Spinach. But what about Summer? This is a tricky one! Spinach has a frazzled relationship with the sun and extreme heat.

To be a mediator in this situation, you can either cover the leaves with cloth to protect the leaves from the Sun’s extreme heat or you can opt for different varieties of greens that are heat resistant like Seaside Hybrid, Olympia, Palco, and Corvair. 

2. When to Harvest Spinach?

Here comes the most crucial question. When to harvest Spinach? Is it ready to be called the perfect harvest? Even a professional farmer, at first, couldn’t tell if the spinach was ready to harvest. You’ll learn some tips and tricks here to know when it is ready to be cooked, shared, and enjoyed.

Many people suggest harvesting spinach leaves in the morning or the evening. Avoid the hottest time of the day to harvest as the heat will make your spinach sleazy. The most simple and generalized way to answer this question would be when spinach plants are growing multiple leaves and are about 4 to 5 feet tall.

This is the common indicator that says your spinach is ready! Many people suggest to harvest spinach leaves in the morning or the evening.

However, this is not only a single way to identify if your spinach is ready. You can pluck the leaves at any stage, depending on your needs.

Senior woman picking fresh spinach from garden.
Source: Pexels

For baby spinach, the harvest can be done within a period of a few weeks of planting and sowing. Certain points need to be kept in mind while harvesting the baby spinach. When harvesting Spinach verdure, be careful while picking out the leaves.

Make sure you pluck out the outer leaves and the crown part should remain untouched as it will regrow new leaves. After harvesting the baby spinach twice, don’t go for the third harvest. Let the plant rest to grow mature leaves. 

If you want to pick mature leaves, let the plant grow entirely until it reaches maturity, but don’t wait for so long, the plant can start bolting or downy mildew. Spinach, in nature, is very clever. It will grow more leaves until the weather gets warmer or it dies.

When we talk about harvesting spinach in the early spring, it is comparatively simple. Baby leaves will make it in mid-spring and mature ones in late spring. 

As we have discussed above, the possibility of growing spinach in summer is still there. Planted in summer and harvested in early winter. This is the chronology for the summer spinach plantation. Baby greens come in October, proceeding till early winter.

3. Different Kinds of Spinach Plants You Can Grow in the Fall.

Many gardeners prefer to sow the spinach seeds in the fall. The best seeds to sow in fall are-

3.1. Baby Leaf

Baby leaves are tender, and small in size. Baby leaves can be harvested after 20-30 days. It is packed with Zinc and Magnesium. Baby spinach is versatile and allows you to experiment with it. Put in your salad, and make a smoothie. A baby leaf is a sneaky vegetable. Who knew that we could make a muffin and pancakes out of it? And it’s tasty!

A Spinach Pancake with a walnut on top as a garnish as well as a healthy buddy of you.
Mastering Spinach Harvesting: A Comprehensive Guide 10

3.2. Semi-Savoy

It is less crinkled. Semi-Savoy is gifted with resistance against diseases and bolts. It is the first choice of home gardeners.

3.3. Flat-Leaf

Its name says it all! It is flat, and smooth, making washing it very much easier. This kind of leaf has a peculiar quality that makes it even more special. This kind of spinach is the first to be sold as frozen and canned food as well. 

3.4. Malabar Spinach

Until now, we have developed an understanding of spinach being intolerable to heat. But exceptions are everywhere! Malabar Spinach is a heat-tolerant leaf. They demand summer. They are glutinous in taste and texture because of this they mainly find their place in soups, stews, and curries.

4. How To Harvest?

This is one of the variety of spinach plants, known as Semi- savoy spinach.
Source: Pexels

There are some simple ways to pluck spinach from the plant. Cut the spinach leaves with garden scissors or with a bread knife. You can also pluck the leaves by your hands, pluck leaf by leaf, and let the crown be intact, only then new leaves will re-sprout.

An important thing to keep in mind while harvesting the spinach plants is never to pick more than 1\3 of the plant. Picking more leaves at a time or regular intervals, won’t allow the spinach plants to re-sprout new leaves again.

You can also pluck the spinach as foliage, which means you can pluck the leaves by bunch. The only thing that matters the most while plucking the leaves is that you don’t harm the crown because that’s the growing point of leaves.

5. After Harvesting, What’s Next?

The most common question arises here, can we store freshly plucked spinach? If yes, then for how long and what are the correct ways to store it fresh?

While harvesting the leaves, the soil gets stuck to the leaves. First of all, you need to clean them properly to get rid of all the dirt and soil. Be more careful while washing crinkled varieties of spinach as the soil gets ruffled in the wrinkled areas of the leaf. Washing them with lukewarm water can make them dirt-free

Freshly Picked Foliage of Spinach, dirt sticking to the stalks of the leave.
Source: Pexels

Never store spinach leaves in a container while they are still wet. This will ruin your days of effort in just 2 days.

Air dry or pat dry the leaves with a cloth, paper towel, or salad spinner. Leaving wet spinach leaves in the open is the most common and stupidest way to ruin them. Let the spinach breathe. You can store it in a glass bowl a bore-through plastic bag or an airtight container.

Some people prefer to wrap the leaves in a soft cloth, and then keep it in the refrigerator. You’ll have to store spinach in the refrigerator. Your spinach will last for 10 days. However, storing spinach for too long in too cold will lead to brown spots on the midrib and yellow spots on the leaves. 

5.1. Blanch and Freeze Method

Soaking up the leaves in lukewarm water to make it dirt-free, so that they can be stored in freezer bags.
Source: Pixabay

If you are looking for a way to store fresh spinach leaves for a longer period, here’s a way to do it. Try Blanching the leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer the leaves into a bowl of cold water and let it sit for a minute, it’ll stop the cooking process.

Drain all the water from the leaves, pack them in freezer bags and store them in the freezer.

6. Conclusion

In conclusion, spinach is a very tricky yet healthy vegetable. Once you know and agree with its conditions, it is your wholesome friend. There are lots of interesting factors you must consider while planting and harvesting fresh spinach.

We’ve tried to provide you with the most simple yet reliable information to make your gardening journey more efficient.

Get your gardening started, with all the tips and tricks provided by us and don’t forget to share your experiences and views with us!

Happy Gardening.

Last Updated on by Khushahal Malakar

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