Spinach can be grown under floating row cover to prevent leaf miner and aphid damage. Because its productivity is so closely linked to the weather, spinach harvests can be erratic from year to year for many gardeners. Bolt resistant varieties are perfect for beginners.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Jason Bachman/Flickr

Size: 10 to 12 inches

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (will tolerate partial shade)

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week—consistent moisture is key, so mulching well is recommended.

Soil requirements: Rich, fertile soil, high in nitrogen. Soil pH should be 6.5 to 7.5.

When to plant: Direct-seed in very early spring (ideal soil temperatures for germination are between 55 and 65 degrees). Spinach bolts (or flowers) quickly in warm weather. Sow all varieties in August for late-season harvest and overwintering.

Where to plant: Garden; containers

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When to harvest: 30 to 40 days after seeding, when leaves are 1 to 2 inches in length (baby spinach); 40 to 50 days after seeding (full-sized)

Produce storage: Store, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

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