Grow Nutritious Spinach in Fall

John Navazio suggests homesteaders grow nutritious spinach in fall to give it a running start that will result in good harvests.


| August/September 2002



Fall Spinach

Had little luck with spring-sown spinach? Bust the slump by planting this brilliantly green, nutrition-packed vegetable at summer’s end.


Photo by David Cavagnaro

Spinach ranks as one of the most delicious and tender of all the leafy greens, yet this delightful crop is conspicuously absent from many gardens. The reason? Frustration likely settled in for growers who had planted spinach in spring and reaped only a small harvest of undersized, parched leaves before the spindly central flower stalk appeared, signaling the plant was starting to bolt or run to seed.

What’s the best remedy for the spring spinach blues? Plant a fall crop! By planting spinach at the end of summer, your crop will get off to a running start and mature to its luscious best during the cool, golden days of fall.

Understanding Spinach

To appreciate why spring-sown spinach misbehaves, one must be familiar with the plant’s humble origins. Spinach is a cool-season vegetable originally grown in fall and winter in the fertile agricultural valleys of the Middle East. In spring, longer days and higher temperatures prompt spinach to finish its cycle and go to seed.

While many modern spinach growers deem early hot weather the villain behind spinach’s bolting, the true culprit is actually the increasingly long days of spring, which signal to the plant that it’s time to reproduce. Most present-day spinach varieties will initiate flowering when the daylight duration reaches 14 hours — as early as mid-May in the northern half of the United States.

peaceloverjt63
7/22/2017 4:49:40 PM

Oh thank you...new gardener here and I'm enjoying it so much...I had no idea when to plant the spinach but I knew it was some time in early fall ...thanks for the direction...and great advice..😀🙋


chas jones
9/7/2012 4:52:27 PM

By referring to "northern states", I doubt that you are referring to Alaska, but I am curious to try this next summer. We've missed the opportunity here for 2012, I think. We just got our first 32 degree temperature last night. It may be another 2 weeks before it gets into the mid 20's at night. Anyhow, don't forget about your truly "northern" readers! :)






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