Spinach is a short lived, cool-weather loving crop so it is best grown in spring & fall. Direct sow seeds outside as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring (about April 1st) through mid-May. Sow 10 sds per foot, ½” deep, in rows 15” apart. Alternatively, start seeds inside 3/15. Keep seeds moist until germination. Days to germination: 5-20 depending on temperature. Water spinach plants frequently to delay bolting. For fall planting, sow outside 8/15 Spinach seeds will not germinate with soil temps over 85° so to keep seeds cool, cover soil with thick row cover fabric and keep moist. For winter growing plant in hoophouse or coldframe around Sept 1 and Feb 15. Protect plants from rabbits, groundhogs, & deer.
Harvest as baby greens or mature plants. Clip individual leaves but don’t remove more than 1/3 of the leaves at one time unless you are taking the whole plant.
For successful seed harvest, start seeds very early in a coldframe or hoophouse 3/1 (so that seeds mature before weather is too hot). Minimum population size: 20 (plants are unisexual so only the female plants will produce seed) so grow at least 60 plants. Ideal isolation distance: 2 miles – just make sure your neighbors are not letting their spinach flower. Remove plants that are weak and the 1st 10% of plants that bolt. When most seeds are tan, collect seeds by clipping stems and drying them. Clean by stripping seeds off stems & winnowing.