So, How Far Apart to Plant Spinach?

Some of the very best plants for beginning gardeners to grow are leafy salad vegetables. Most are highly adaptable to being grown indoors or out, in the ground or in containers, and they typically grow quickly with minimal care requirements.

Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach
Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach

But no matter which kind you are growing, it’s important that you get the spacing right so your plans develop quickly and grow big and full. Today we’re looking at highly nutritious spinach.

So, just how far apart should you plant your spinach?

Spinach should ideally be planted about 10 inches (25 cm) apart, though this is easier to achieve practically by planting seeds 6 inches (15 cm) apart and then pruning back. Spinach rows should be between 12 and 18 inches apart.

Spinach is one of my personal favorite leafy vegetables not only because of its flavor and excellent nutritional profile, but because you can take a little bit off of the plant as it grows whenever you need it.

It’s one of the best vegetables for small spaces or indoor gardening, too, but no matter which way you try to grow spinach, you’ve got to get that spacing right.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know in the rest of this article…

Why Spinach Spacing is Important

Spinach, just like every plant, must be spaced properly when planted if you want them to thrive.

Among several practical reasons for doing so, proper spacing is vital to give each plant a sort of buffer against infection or infestation in case diseases or pests start burning through your crop.

Close-quarters all but guarantees that your plants will suffer the same fate, so keeping them spaced out is paramount.

Another reason why proper spinach spacing is important is because it allows for the maximum amount of air circulation and access to light.

The spinach leaves need to get plenty of sunlight to thrive, and inadequate air circulation will promote fungal and bacterial diseases that target your leaves if they get wet and don’t dry out.

Last but not least, your plants need room to themselves so they aren’t competing for nutrients or water.

Having too many plants in a small space takes away from each individual plant’s growth potential, and can lead to stunted plants that will never produce crisp, tasty spinach leaves.

How Far Apart Should You Space Spinach Rows?

Spinach rows should be spaced out around 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm). This will maximize your efficiency and yield in a given space while allowing plenty of room for plants to thrive, but still permit you to move between the rows easily enough.

If you aren’t as mobile as you used to be- like me!- then consider leaving a little more space between rows, but don’t change the spacing between the plants themselves.

Do Different Spinach Varieties Require Different Spacing?

When it comes to spacing requirements for spinach, it can vary significantly depending on the variety. Some spinach varieties, such as ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid,’ have smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit, which allows for plants to be spaced a little closer together.

These varieties can be spaced about 2-4 inches apart with rows spaced 6-12 inches apart. Some other smaller varieties that may require similar spacing include ‘Melody’ and ‘Tyee’.

On the other hand, larger varieties of spinach, such as ‘Giant Winter’ or ‘Bloomsdale’, may require significantly more space. These varieties can grow quite large with leaves reaching over a foot long.

It’s recommended to space these plants about 16 inches apart with rows spaced 18 inches or more apart to ensure they have enough room to grow fully and produce large, tender leaves.

Some spinach varieties get even weirder, such as ‘New Zealand Spinach.’ This type forms spreading vines and may require a lot more space between plants.

What Happens if You Plant Spinach Too Close Together?

Planting spinach too closely together can result in several problems, one of them is shading of neighboring spinach plants.

When planted this way, their leaves can grow to form a dense canopy, which will prevent sunlight from reaching much of the plants themselves.

This usually results in “legginess” or the upward stretching of the plants’ leaves: The plant grows tall and spindly in search more of light due to overcrowding.

Leggy plants are often weak and have thin stems that are more prone to breaking. Additionally, they have fewer leaves than they should have, reducing overall yield, and taste bad.

This is in addition to the problems of nutrient competition as described above, and all the problems attendant with disease and pests.

Other Spacing Requirements for Planting Spinach Planted in Ground

None, concerning the spacing itself, but there is something to consider if you want to better ensure most of your seeds germinate.

You can plant your seeds much closer together, like 1 inch apart, or even scatter the seeds down your rows, so long as you are prepared to pinch them back at the required spacing when they germinate.

This is a good way to maximize your chances of a full crop, but it entails a little more work after planting.

Spacing Requirements for Planting Spinach in Containers

Follow the same requirements on spacing as with planting in the ground, above. If you want to densely pack the container with seeds to maximize your harvest, scatter them 1 inch apart, and be prepared to thin out the plants when they germinate.

Keep in mind that even baby spinach leaves are edible – you can keep them!

Spacing Requirements for Planting Spinach in Raised Beds

Planting spinach in raised beds should follow the exact same guidelines as planting in the ground: 12 inches between seeds (or 6 or less if you want to prune back) with 12-18 inch spacing between beds.

Note that is might be possible to double up on the rows in a bed depending on its width since you won’t need to walk over the plants like you would in the ground.

Is Spinach Suitable for Square Foot Gardening?

Yes, definitely! Spinach is a great option for square-foot gardening, since most cultivars need about 12 inch spacing; perfect when dealing with 12-inch squares.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the aforementioned smaller varieties can make great companion plants for other vegetables: Tyee spinach, for instance, can be planted between taller plants like peppers or tomatoes without taking up too much room.

By following these spacing guidelines your spinach crop should grow successfully and you’ll be able to enjoy those delicious, healthy leaves in no time.

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