The Q&A Archives: Spinach Harvest

Question: This is the first time we have planted spinach. It is growing well, but we do not know exactly the best time to pick it. My husband thinks it is going to seed, but the leaves are very small. How big do the leaves have to get before we pick?

Answer: Leaf size on spinach depends on the variety you are growing, and some types stay quite small. Basically, you can harvest spinach starting early in the spring as soon as the plants are recognizable as spinach. If you snip just the outer leaves, the rest of the plant will continue to grow. This way you can enjoy it over a long season. Another harvest option, if your plants are spaced close together, is to remove entire plants as a means of thinning them out.

Spinach is a cool season plant, and tastes best before the weather gets hot causing it to turn bitter. Unfortunately, once the plants begin to flower or "bolt" that is pretty much the end of the spinach season. (At least when you pull out the plants you will have garden space for a warm season crop such as bush beans.) If this batch is bitter, you might want to try again for another crop this fall!

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