Spinach belongs to the Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot family). Spinach, a very cold-hardy leafy green, is a popular crop that can be planted in early spring and in some areas in autumn and even winter. Spinach is a fast-growing plant that gets many leaves in a very short time in the mild spring and autumn seasons. Let’s check out the top 14 steps to boost Spinach yield below.
Top 14 steps to boost Spinach yield
Step 1: Select the types of Spinach to increase the yield
- Disease-resistant Spinach varieties include ‘Melody’, ‘Nordic IV’, ‘Olympia’, ‘Tyee’ and ‘Wolter’.
- Good varieties for autumn planting include ‘Avon,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ ‘Melody,’ ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ and ‘Tyee.’
- Plants that do well in the winter season include Bloomsdale Long Standing, Cold Resistant Savoy, and Tyee.
- Types suggested for containers include ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid’ and ‘Melody.’
Varieties of flat-leaf Spinach include Viroflay and Hybrid 424. Hybrid 424 is resistant to downy mildew (blue mold). Savoy leaf types include Hybrid 612, Dixie Market, Hybrid 7, and Dark Green Bloomsdale. Hybrid 7, Hybrid 612, and Dixie Market have resistance to downy mildew.
Step 2: Site selection and soil preparation to improve crop production
Spinach grows best in well-drained soils with high organic matter content. Spinach has a deep root, so the soil should be worked to at least 8 to 10 inches. Dig the soil in early spring when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Break up large loose and remove trash and weeds. It is especially important in heavy soils.
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Well-drained sandy looms that are well supplied with organic matter and high in pH are preferred for early and winter crops because good drainage and warming of the soil from dust can also be used and give the highest yield.
Step 3: Grow your Spinach in sunny areas for healthy and high-quality Spinach
Although Spinach is known to grow well in mild climates and does not respond well to extreme temperatures, it still needs sunlight to thrive. It can tolerate some shade, but the quality of the crop may not be as good as that of all sunny crops. It can grow in shady conditions, but it should not receive less than six hours of sun a day for plant growth. Temperature between 10 to 16°C is ideal for growing Spinach. Although some varieties of Spinach are remarkably cold-tolerant and can withstand freezing temperatures, their leaf yields are greatly reduced as the temperature decreases.
Likewise, overheating conditions will tell your Spinach that it is time to produce seeds and prepare to die from heat exhaustion. They can bolt quickly, causing bitter leaves and plants to fail. You can sometimes provide a shade in the heat of the day to reduce the temperature around your plant, but it will not work for long.
Step 4: Water requirement for better growth of Spinach
The root system of the Spinach plant is relatively low. As a result, the plant prefers shorter and more frequent irrigation sessions to produce an acceptable yield. When the weather condition is very hot, Spinach tends to bolt into seeds. The Spinach plants are willing to devote their resources to seed production instead of genetically developing leaves. It is advisable to irrigate the plant early or late in the afternoon. Then, this will prevent water vapor from evaporating from the sun. More than half of the world’s production is irrigated through sprinklers.
Step 5: Factors to get good growth and maximize your yield
- Seed rate: 40 to 60 pounds (20 to 30 kg) seed per hectare.
- Seed germination will be better at 10 to 16°C.
- Companion planting is often used. Cabbage, Onion, and Celery are widely used.
- Thinning is used to encourage plants to produce a large leaf surface. It is a common method when we grow Spinach for the processing market.
- Regular but excessive watering will ensure soil moisture.
- Farmers can consult local professionals (licensed agronomists) for proper planning for growing healthy and high-quality Spinach.
Step 6: Seed treatment and planting for more plant growth
The seed size can be adjusted to be the correct seed. Emerges faster at higher temperatures but decreases germination rate. Spinach seeds older than one year rarely grow more than 80%. Older seeds are also less viable and grow more slowly and irregularly. When using non-precision seed, sow 20 to 30 kg seed per hectare. Less than a third of this will be needed if the crop is given the right seed.
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Depending on the planting equipment and plant population, rows can be spaced about 18 to 60 cm apart. Seeds can be propagated where weed control is not a problem. Sow the Spinach seeds outside as soon as the soil can be worked from early spring to mid-May and then in August for autumn crops. For overwintering in the field, plant seeds in early September. For a safe winter crop, seeds can be sown in tunnel houses from mid-October to mid-November.
Step 7: Fertilizers and manures for increasing plant yield
Apply 10 tons of farmyard manure with 35 kg nitrogen (75 kg urea) and 12 kg P2O5 (superphosphate 75 kg) per acre. Before sowing, apply half of P2O5 and N of whole crop fertilizer. Apply the remaining half in two split cuttings followed by irrigation. Spinach can produce leaves in average soil, but it will grow in nutritious soil. Many experienced farmers apply a mixture of compost and phosphorus fertilizer to the soil a few days before planting.
In severe P deficiency, farmers can apply P2O5 at 50 kg/hectare a few days before sowing. Many farmers use fertigation, i.e., injection of water-soluble fertilizers in irrigation systems. In this way, they can increase productivity and save time by watering and fertilizing plants simultaneously. It is recommended that we follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using any method of fertilization.
Step 8: Nutritional management to increase productivity
Spinach is a leafy vegetable plant. As a result, in most cases, farmers can apply N and P during different stages of plant growth to maximize the total leaf surface. Spinach requirements in N are approximately 70-80 kg per hectare, depending on the type. Also, many farmers apply Ammonium Nitrate at 50 kg/hectare. In the case of organic production, we can use nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.
Organic fertilizers can be applied once or twice while Spinach plants grow. Also, use fertilizers mixed with other sources (fish emulsions, etc.). In most cases, organic fertilizer helps control weeds and conserve soil moisture during the summer months. Any fertilizer mustn’t contact young plants; otherwise, we may face problems. It is advisable to irrigate your crops after fertilization.
It is very important to analyze the soil and know your crop history before using any method of fertilizer application. You can consult a licensed agronomist. If you prefer to use granular fertilizer during the growing season, use it as a side dressing along the edges of the rows and apply it once a month. Make sure not to come into direct contact with granular plants. It can burn them. Add water immediately after applying granular fertilizer.
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You may be interested in using organic fertilizers. Use fish emulsion or well-decomposed manure to modify the soil before planting. Side dressing with any organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen during the growing season. Fertilizer also works well for organic food and can be applied once or twice each growing season. A well-balanced or nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer will do just fine.
Step 9: Pruning to encourage faster growth
Generally, all you need to do for Spinach is prune the leaves during its season. Spinach is an annual plant. Once the seed is gone, it must age, and the plant can be removed in addition to possible seed harvesting. Like many other leafy vegetables, it is advisable to prune the leaves regularly to encourage bushier and faster growth.
Step 10: Tip for control holes in Spinach leaves
When you see that your Spinach leaves look a little too worse to wear, there is a good chance that insects will be blamed. Many insects can cause holes or tunnels in the leaves, including aphids, leaf miners, spider mites, and flea beetles. Neem oil or other natural pesticides work wonders in getting rid of pests, as does Bacillus thuringiensis.
Step 11: Control problems in Spinach plants
When growing Spinach, you may encounter some common problems, including Spinach leaves turning yellow/brown or brown/white spots. Talk about the common causes of leaf discoloration, including nutrition, pests, disease, and poor growing conditions. Spinach leaves that turn yellow can have a variety of causes, including malnutrition, diseases, pests, or poor growth conditions. Depending on the color, the damage can be done with simple treatments. But in some cases, you may have to destroy your crops and start over.
Let’s take a look at some common leaf yellowing problems. It would help if you also had a proper combination of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in your soil to prevent the yellowing of the leaves. Nitrogen deficiency is a common cause of leaf yellowing. Boron deficiency can also be a culprit. Spinach’s brown leaves can be caused by several problems, including disease, pests, malnutrition, and temperature.
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Cause the small leaves of your Spinach plant – This could be an extreme temperature, lack of full sun exposure, poor soil, too little or too much water, or other plant diseases like downy mildew, cutworms, or Fusarium wilt.
Bolting is a big mistake that many new gardeners make when growing Spinach at the wrong time. If you plant too late, you will have problems with Spinach bolting. Bolting refers only to the time when Spinach plants go to seed. Once the plants begin to bloom, the leaves become bitter and have an unpleasant taste. Don’t worry about Spinach affecting the cold – it can occasionally handle cold or freezing.
Step 12: Weed control for more plant growth
It is important to reduce the annual and perennial weed population before planting. Numerous shallow crops are an integral part of the weed control program. Fertilizers should not be used on this crop due to the high seed content of weeds. Prevent overcrowding and encourage plants to go to seed. To avoid crowding, thin them out to four to six inches once they have at least two true leaves.
Fertilize with tea or fish emulsion when the plant has four true leaves. Since cultivating or pulling weeds by hand can damage the roots of Spinach, it is best to spread a light mulch of grass, straw, or hay in rows to suppress weeds instead. Water stress will encourage the plants to bolt, providing enough water to keep the soil moist but not wet.
Step 13: Spinach pests and diseases control for more plant growth
Spinach plants can be attacked by aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners, slugs, and spider mites. Knock aphids from plants with a strong blast of water. Remove leaves in which Leaf Miner is tunneling. Find the eggs under the leaves. Floating line covers can remove leaf minor bees from the planting bed. Sprinkle fillet beetles and spider mites with Spinosad. Keep slugs and snails away by sprinkling a barrier of diatomaceous earth around Spinach plants.
Spinach is susceptible to mildew, rust, and mosaic viruses. Plants are resistant to rust and disease. Mildew and rust are fungal diseases. Spray mist leaves by using compost tea to prevent fungal diseases. Plants infected with the mosaic virus should be removed from the garden. The mosaic virus will cause the leaves to become stained or striped white or yellow. Keep the garden clean of debris. Remove and destroy diseased plants.
Pest and disease control tips – The best way to control pests and diseases in Spinach plants is to prevent rather than intervene. Spinach farmers should keep the following steps in mind.
- The use of certified seeds is recommended. In most cases, growers choose hybrids resistant to bolting and downy mildew.
- Low seed germination or improper seed rate will accelerate the negative effects of pests and diseases.
- Insufficient fertilizer and irrigation will accelerate the adverse effects.
- Chemical control is permitted after consultation with a local licensed agronomist.
- Crop rotation can be applied to control certain diseases.
Since most Spinach plants grow in very cold weather, pests do not have problems. Leaf minor larvae can penetrate the plant leaves and produce tan patches. Prevent leaf minor problems by covering your crop with a floating row cover. For unprotected plants, remove and destroy infected leaves to prevent adult flies from growing and further infecting the crop. Slugs also eat Spinach.
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Step 14: Harvesting time improves crop growth
When the leaves reach the desired size, cut off some of the outer leaves from each plant (so that the inner leaves can grow), or harvest the entire plant, cutting the stem at the base. The small leaves of Spinach can only be cut with scissors by cutting the leaves in the stem. One method to do this is to start harvesting the outer, old leaves and then slowly work your way through the middle of the plant as soon as the leaves mature.
Harvesting Spinach this way often allows it to grow again and gives you another partial crop. When considering how to pick Spinach, decide whether you should use the whole plant immediately or need a few leaves. Choosing Spinach will speed up its rotting as the leaves do not stay healthy. There are ways to preserve vegetables, but they need to be properly cleaned. Spinach should be soaked or washed several times to remove dirt and any damaged leaves from the crop.
Generally, you can harvest Spinach four to six weeks after planting. Start pruning whenever the leaves are large enough for your taste. Spinach can be grown in a “cut and come again” way. Cut individual leaves with garden scissors, starting with the oldest outer leaves and letting the young inner leaves grow for the next crop.
Spinach leaves can be pruned as soon as large enough to be used and cut by hand or machine. Individual leaves can be cut in the home garden, or the whole plant can be cut as needed. In commercial production, bunches of fresh Spinach are usually cut by hand. Spinach can be cut by machine for processing.
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