Spinach Growing Stages – A Complete Guide on Its Life Cycle

Growing spinach in your garden is very easy if you know all the growth stages of the spinach plant and what to do to keep it healthy and thick in the growing season. 

Spinach is a fast-growing plant with low maintenance and a good source of nutrition to be included in the human diet. 

The growth stages of spinach plants start in the cooler season from sowing directly into the garden, then the seeds germinate in 5 to 9 days. After 12 to 15 days the plant has first true leaves and after 7 days third, true leaves grow. After 20 to 25 days of seeding the plant, it will have bigger leaves that can be harvested, and the plant will be mature enough to fully harvest in 38 to 45 days.

Now you know the growing stages of the spinach plant in brief. But how you should grow the plant and what things you should keep in mind in all these stages. Let’s talk about these things in detail.

When to plant spinach In your garden?

The best time to plant spinach is in the cooler season of the year. You can either plant the spinach 4-5 weeks before the last frost in the spring months or you can plant spinach in the late summer to fall when the temperature is cooler than usual so that you can have a harvest before the first frost. 

The spinach is a fast-growing plant which means if you plant it before the last frost you can harvest the plant before the summer heat begins or if you live in a location where there is mild winter then you can plant the spinach in the fall and can harvest the plant all winter. 

Keep in mind, spinach is a winter plant which means it will bolt in the hot temperature or in the summer so timing is very crucial when planting the spinach seed.

Growth stages of the spinach plant

  1. Seeds – there are several types of varieties of spinach seeds that you could grow in your garden. Some are grown for their flavor and some have different textures to them, some seeds are bolt proof or have slow bolting and some have larger leaves.

Some of the varieties include Bloomsdale, Monstrueux viroflay, lavewa, butterfly, and matador which all can be planted in the winter season. 

  1. Seeding – spinach is not a plant that likes to be transplanted from the pot to the garden. If transplanted after the germination, the plant will bolt early and the harvest would be useless. If you want to speed up the germination you can soak the seeds in water first and then plant the seeds in the soil. 

Spinach grows best in moist and nitrogen-rich healthy soil. Keep the soil well-fertilized and make it loose so that the spinach plant can grow deep taproot. 

Sow the seed six weeks before the last frost so that the plant can grow in cool soil so it doesn’t bolt faster and have a good harvest. If you are sowing in the hotter days then you need to sow heavily in the soil as the germination rate is low and not many seeds will germinate. 

  1. Germination – the seeds after sowing can germinate in five to nine days if the temperature is not extremely cold and ideal for the spinach plant. Keeping the soil moist and well-watered will help the germination of the seed. watering twice a day will help the seeds. 
  1. First true leaves – after 15 to 20 days the plant will grow small leaves. These are called the first true leaves. This is the sign that the germination was good and the plant is healthy.  This is the most crucial time for the plant to grow. It needs proper care and maintenance.  In this stage, you should fertilize the soil with liquid fertilizer. You can also use tea water 
  1. Thinning – protecting the plants from weed and thinning can damage the plant and hinder the growth so to prevent weed and kill the small sprouts, spread the mulch, straw, or grass clippings around the plant and on the bare soil around the garden. This will help the remaining plant to grow healthy without having to face any suppression from weed or other seedlings. Every plant have at least 4-6 inches of space in between after or before thinning 
  1. Third true leaves – after 20 to 25 days you will see third true leaves growing from the plants. This is the time where you will see the plant growing fast. You need to give fertilizer and heavy watering to grow bigger and greener leaves. The plant will now take another 20 days to grow big leaves for the harvest.
  1. The first harvest – after the sixth week, the plant will start to get mature enough for the first harvest. You can start to take out leaves from the plant which has at least six 3 to 4 inches leaves. Carefully removing the big leaves from the plant will increase the productivity of the plant and will give you a better harvest at the end.
  1. Full harvest – after the first harvest the plants will grow faster and you can have multiple harvests in the cooler months. Whenever you see the plant is bolting, that’s the time you need to cut the whole plant off from the ground to prevent it from bolting or going bad.
  1. Flowering (bad) – after the plant has grown big enough. It will have flowers growing which is called bolting which is bad for eating. So you need to make sure that the plant doesn’t bolt. If you see that the plant is big enough or growing flowers

Common Problems on growing spinach

  • If the seeds are not germinating, you need to check two things. The freshness of the seed and the conditions. If the seeds are old they won’t germinate in the soil so always use fresh seeds as old spinach seeds don’t germinate very well. The second thing to check is the conditions, the soil shouldn’t be too wet or too dry and it has to be cooler so that the seeds can germinate. If these things are not met then the seeds won’t germinate.
  • Slow or no growth after germination is also a very big problem. The biggest reason for slow growth or no growth is the temperature as spinach is a very easy plant to grow. If the temperature in the soil or the air is hot then the spinach will stop growing so need to ensure that you are planting the soil at the right temperature. The plant will also bolt and die if the temperature is too hot.

What does spinach look like growing?

The spinach plants have big green leaves which are ovate or triangular. The size of the leaves varies from 5 to 30 cm long and 1 to 15 cm broad with larger leaves growing in the base of the plant and smaller leaves growing in the top. The whole plant can grow up to 30cm tall. The leaves are dark green with light color lines in them and the texture is soft and hairy.

How long does it take for spinach to grow?

The spinach plant takes around 38 to 45 days to fully grow and harvested from the garden. It will take longer for the plant to grow in the summer season and it can bolt. In the winter season, when the temperature is ideal for the plant, will mature and be ready in 38 to 45 days or 5 to 6 weeks.

How many times can you harvest spinach?

The spinach can be harvested multiple times as long as the temperature is ideal for the plant to grow and not bolt. If the temperature is cooler all year long, you can harvest spinach all year but if you have hot summer days then the plant will bolt and won’t be useful. 

Will spinach grow back after cutting?

Yes, spinach will grow back after cutting the bigger leaves from the plant only. Harvest only 1/3rd of the plant so that it doesn’t get stressed and have leaves to grow. It will continue to grow bigger leaves as long as the temperature is cold and ideal for the plant to grow.

Does spinach come back every year?

No, spinach doesn’t grow back every year as it is an annual crop which means it just grows for one season and then bolts and dies. The spinach plant can grow as long as the temperature is ideal for the plant but once the season ends the plant dies.

So there are 9 growth stages of spinach plant from seed to flowering and it takes around 45 days to complete these stages by the plant.

Hope you find out all the information you needed to grow spinach in your garden!