Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Spinach

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Seed Varieties:
  • Savoy Varieties: This variety has very curly or crinkly leaves that are quite large.
  • Flat-leaf Varieties: These varieties have similar sized leaves to Savoy varieties, except they are smooth.
  • Semi-Savoy Varieties: These varieties have leaves with a texture somewhere between Savoy varieties and smooth leaf varieties.
  • Baby Varieties: These have very small tender, leaves, harvested when they are less than three inches long. This is the variety seen in bags in the supermarket, and what most are familiar with.
Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Spinach is directly seeded in the garden.

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Spinach is directly seeded in the garden.

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

As soon as the ground is prepared in the spring, the first planting can go in. Plant a fall succession in the first week of August. Plant the tiny seeds abundantly with three rows per bed. Once the plants are about an inch tall, they can be thinned to just under and inch apart (about 10 plants per foot).

Plant Needs and Cultivation Techniques:

Spinach is a cool weather crop, and will not tolerate heat. Be sure the spring planting is started early enough so that it reaches maturity before daytime temperatures reach the 90s. Spinach needs to be regularly irrigated throughout the growing season, keeping the soil moist, but not soggy. As with all plants, keeping the weeds under control with frequent cultivation is important, and hand cultivation is the best method.

Harvest Techniques:

Begin harvesting the outer leaves when they are about two inches tall, and the leaves are tender and have a mild flavor. Continue to cut leaves selectively until the plant reaches full size, at which point all of the leaves can be cut at the base near the soil with a sharp harvest knife. Be sure to harvest the plant when a seed stalk begins to form, because the leaves will deteriorate quickly as the plant flowers. In the fall, harvest can continue into early winter even after the first frost. Putting row cover on the bed can extend the harvest season even longer.


After harvesting, gently wash the leaves in cool water. Keep refrigerated in perforated plastic bags for up to three days, although they should be used before they begin to wilt. It is best to let the leaves remain on the plant and only harvest as much as needed.


For retail, sell at $5.00 per pound, and for wholesale, sell at $3.00 per pound.