Spinach is an amazing leafy vegetable that is loaded with nutrients and many health benefits. While you can buy it from the supermarket, fresh, homegrown spinach, however, is the best option for a healthier lifestyle. Organic spinach is more nutrient-rich, tastes better and when it’s grown at home can save you time and cash.
The Main Health Benefits of Spinach
This vegetable has many benefits that you can enjoy from consuming it such as:
- It helps with diabetes management by increasing insulin sensitivity because it contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid.
- Spinach has chlorophyll that has been suggested to help prevent cancer by effectively blocking carcinogens.
- It can help to prevent asthma since it has beta-carotene.
- Helping to lower your blood pressure.
- Preventing constipation and helping to balance the digestive system because it’s high in fiber.
- It is also high in vitamin A and vitamin C content making it fantastic for your skin and hair.
Not As Hard As You Might Think
Growing spinach is not as difficult as you might believe. It happens to be a quick grower so you can often enjoy a good yield in a short amount of time. Spinach prefers cool weather and usually grows well in organic soil during the spring and fall. However, some varieties can grow in the summer too, but it’s necessary to plant them under shade to avoid direct contact with sunlight.
Steps For Success
There are a few easy steps you’ll need follow before you can enjoy your spinach at home:
- Choosing the Perfect Place
The first and most crucial step is to choose the perfect place to grow. You’ll want to pick soil that is rich in organic matter and has a pH of 6.5 to 7. Be warned that soil which is too acidic is not suitable for growing this vegetable.
- Planting Spinach
Plant the spinach in rows, with a distance of 12-inches between them. You should sow the seeds 0.5 inches deep every 6-inches along the rows. Also, cover this with 0.5-inches of fine mulch. Using a weed barrier helps spinach to grow nicely.
When planting seeds in the spring and summer, you’ll want to mix 2-3 lbs of alfalfa meal per 100 square feet into the soil you will be using. Alternatively if you’ll be planting in the fall, mixing 1 lb of fish meal or some other animal-based nitrogen content into the soil would be a good idea.
Proper watering plays a crucial role if you want to be able to enjoy homegrown spinach. While other types of plants only need the soil to be watered, with spinach you’ll need to make sure that you water the leaves too.
Consistency is key with your watering because this leafy vegetable demands moist soil to grow properly. An efficient way to water it is from above, using a watering can, that way the leaves remain hydrated and the soil will stay damp.
When considering fertilizers you will need to check the amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium present in them. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are the best choice for growing spinach. Using balanced fertilizers also can work well though too. Add the one you choose to the soil before planting so that the fertilizer breaks down a bit. After that, a water soluble fertilizer should be used every two weeks so that the plant grows well.
- Harvesting Spinach
When can you harvest your plants? Well, spinach can be picked when you see that the leaves have grown big enough to eat. It’s recommended that you cut off the outer leaves first which are larger and older and leave the remaining leaves on the plant to grow to size.
Doing this well help to prevent bolting or flowering. If you see the plant starting to bolt, you can harvest the entire plant.
A Few Extra Tips
Below are a few important tips that can help you out:
- Cut old leaves off, when they start turning yellow.
- The best time for you to harvest your crop is during a frost because when exposed to cold, the spinach leaves start producing sugars that taste great.
- To protect the plant from snow, use frames or tunnels.
With the above info you can get started growing and eating healthy foods. Whether for your kitchen garden, rooftop, terrace, or backyard vegetable patch spinach makes a great choice that anyone can grow.
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