It would seem that decorative and non-edible plants are common among indoor gardeners than vegetables and other edibles. However, it is just as easy to grow some vegetables indoors as it is to grow succulents and flowers.
I have been an indoor gardening enthusiast for some time now, but I only grew spinach for the first item recently. The ease of cultivation and the abundant yield is what has informed the writing of this article.
I would love to share what I have learned on how to grow spinach indoors, both from research and personal experience. If you have been looking for information about indoor spinach growing, steps that will lead to healthy plants and an abundant return are discussed below.
What You Need to Grow Spinach Indoors?
Growing spinach indoors is considerably different from outdoor cultivation. For a successful indoor spinach growing endeavor, you need some essential supplies.
I’ve only used pots to grow spinach indoors, but you can also use other types of containers. I would advise that whatever container you get should be at least six inches deep.
If you plan to grow many spinach plants, get multiple pots or a large container that can accommodate as many plants as you would love to grow. To further prevent water retention, you should use pots that have holes at the bottom.
Since you are not using hydroponics, you need a suitable soil mixture to grow your spinach in. There is a lot of information out there concerning the soil mix for indoor spinach growing. However, from my personal experience, permeability is one of the most important things.
Spinach doesn’t do well with too much water, so you should plant in well-draining soil. Also, a loamy texture is preferable, and the soil pH should be neutral or close. As the plants grow, you will have to add fertilizer to the soil to supplement the nutrients.
Firstly, decide on the variety and sub-variety of spinach you would like to grow, and then get the seeds. You can always buy spinach seeds online, but I recommend getting them locally or getting a referral from someone who has successfully grown spinach plants.
Grow Lights (Optional)
Spinach plants do not need much sunlight to develop well. However, if there is no access to sufficient natural lighting in your interior space, you will need to get grow lights.
Spinach plants will rapidly use nitrogen and some other nutrients present in the soil. So, a timely replacement of these nutrients is necessary. Get good nitrogen-based fertilizer or organic manure that is yet to rot.
Growing the Spinach
Spinach growing is quite straightforward and doesn’t really involve any complicated steps. I’ve broken up the whole process into these easy steps.
Choose Suitable Pots and Fill With Soil
While it is not absolutely compulsory to use a pot, you can use trays and other containers. I’ve only ever grown spinach in pots. Depth is more important than width, so what you need are deep pots. I recommend pots that are at least six inches deep.
Also, spinach doesn’t do well in waterlogged conditions, and you should go for pots with small holes at the bottom. This is, however, not compulsory. Fill the selected containers with soil up till near the brim of the pots.
If you are planting in pots, go ahead to sow the seeds at a depth of half an inch, leaving about five inches of space between each seed. However, if you anticipate small leaves in your spinach plants, the spacing can be reduced to two or three inches. Varieties that typically have wide leaves need more spacing than those that have small leaves.
One of the reasons why spinach does well indoors is because it doesn’t require too much direct sunlight. In autumn, when sunlight is not so intense and the days are considerably shorter, you can put the place the pots at your window sill. However, in summer and spring, you should put them away from direct sunlight. In situations where there is not sufficient lighting, grow lights should be used.
While spinach plants do not need much sunlight, they still require sufficient lighting for photosynthesis. If the plants do not get sufficient natural lighting indoors, you should grow them under grow lights. There are many grow light types to choose from. From my personal experience, however, LED grow lights are the best for indoor growing.
At the early germinating stage, any temperature from 40°F to 80°F suitable. Nevertheless, the best soil temperature range at which you should grow spinach is 50°F – 80°F. Admittedly, some varieties will survive outside this temperature range, but this is the typical optimal temperature range. Never forget to adjust your thermostat to the appropriate temperature when growing spinach indoors.
Water the Plant
Spinach does not need much water. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t water the plants from time to time. Water until the soil is moist and not necessarily water-logged. This is why the soil mix you plant in should not be too water-retentive.
I wouldn’t say that mulching is compulsory indoor spinach growing. However, I put in all the effort I can to ensure healthy plant development. Retain soil moisture and improve soil fertility by applying an organic layer of mulch to the soil surface.
Use either fertilizer or manure to enrich your soil. Manure is not always readily available, so you can always apply nitrogen-based fertilizer. You need to be wary of timing when applying fertilizer. Apply when the plant is in the early development stages, not when it has stopped growing.
Typically, spinach takes a little over a month to reach full maturity and be ready for harvest. However, it can take up to 50 days. It is really important to harvest as soon as they reach full maturity or soon before they do. If you don’t harvest as soon as you should, you will notice small yellow or green flowering popping out; at this stage, the spinach leaves will begin to taste bitter.
Best Spinach Varieties to Grow Indoors
There are so many spinach classifications, but they all fall under three main varieties that have many more sub-varieties. In proper conditions, these three main varieties can be grown indoors.
If you stay in very cold climate, this is the variety you want to grow. It does very well in cold conditions but requires persistent cleaning due to the crinkled leaves it produces. Typically, they are very productive. Bloomsdale and Regiment are some well-known sub-varieties of the savoy spinach.
Unlike the savoy spinach that grows really low, the semi-savoy variety grows a bit taller. As a result of the height, mud splashes are less frequent, and it does not produce as many crinkled leaves as the savoy variety. Common sub-varieties include Catalina, Indian Summer, Tyee, and Teton. The most interesting thing about this variety is that it is disease and bolt resistant.
In contrast to the other two varieties, the smooth-leafed spinach is the easiest to clean, as it produces leaves that do not crinkle. Space and Red Carnival are common examples of this sub-variety.
Growing spinach indoors is not complicated.
I hope you found this step by step guideline useful. All you need is sufficient space, good lighting, and additional soil nutrients from fertilizer/manure. Furthermore, you need to be sure that the variety you plant to grow will do well in your climate.