Spinach is a widely grown green vegetable that belongs to specie Spinacia oleracea. It is a resourceful plant with a tender texture and slightly sweet. The leaves are smooth, alternate, and spade-shaped. Spinach is widely known as a rich source of proteins, dietary fibres, vitamins, iron, and calcium. Spinach is a good source of Vitamin A, B, and C, and it proves to be a healthy addition in a diet.
Spinach is a famous crop of the cold season. It is mostly planted in early spring and fall. In specific regions, it is produced in winters as well. In long summer days and wet season, spinach does not grow well. It is an annual plant.
The well-drained, loamy soil is required to plant spinach. The pH must be neutral, and the temperature ranges between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The seedlings are difficult to transplant, so the indoor plantation is not recommended. Spinach grows in full sun and warmer regions; a partial shape is needed.
Early spring and the winter are the best seasons for spinach to plant and grow. Six weeks are required for the spinach from seedlings to harvesting, so it is better to develop them as soon as possible.
Sow the seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep in soil with proper covering them with soil. The spacing between the rows must be 12 inches apart. Spinach is a heat-sensitive plant so water the plant and keeps the ground moist.
Harvest the plant as soon as they are large enough to eat. Cut leaves 4-7 inches from the plant. The bitterness of leaves is increased as they grow larger, so it is better to cut the leaves sooner.
The following tips are helpful in the plantation process of spinach.
- Water the plants regularly.
- Use mulch and keep the soil moist.
- Use fertilizer if necessary.
You can be store spinach leaves in the refrigerator for almost a week. It can be dried and frozen.
Common Pests and Diseases
The following diseases are included in this category.
- Damping-off and Root Rot
- Downy Mildew
- White Rust
Small spots appear on the leaves which grow and turn brown. In severe condition, the plant may suffer from blight. To manage this, avoid disease-free plants and add fungicides. Do not sprinkle water on the base of soil to prevent wetness.
Damping-off & Root Rot:
The germination rate is low. Leaves become yellow. Death of new seedlings can occur. In severe condition, it can cause weak growth and wilt of the plant.
The initial symptoms of the disease are the yellowing of leaves which become tan with time. Purple fungal growth appeared. Distorted leaves are the result of severe infestation.
In management, use the resistant varieties of spinach plant. Apply proper fungicides at the side of germination.
Yellow spots appear on the upper side and the lower side, white pustules appear which spread over the upper side as well. If the disease spread rapidly, the plant shows loss of strength and stamina and ultimately collapse. To prevent this disease, application of proper cultural methods is helpful.
The followings are included in this category
- the mosaic virus of cucumber
- Beet curly top virus
- Tobacco rattle virus
- Tomato spotted wilt virus
The symptoms include the ringspot, mosaic patterns, and necrotic spots on the leaves. The overall growth of the plant is halted.
- Aphids, Peach aphid, Potato aphid
- Cabbage Looper
These are the insects which cause the yellowing of the leaves. The insects are small and soft white bodies present on the underside of leaves. In management, use tolerant and resistant varieties of the plant. Apply insecticidal.
Beetworms and White striped armyworms are the insects. These insects cause irregular holes in the foliage. Egg clusters may be present. Leaves become yellow and dry wounds are seen on the fruits. Organic methods and biological control are helpful in the management of these insects.
These insects cause large holes on the leaves, and extensive damage occurs. Eggs are present on the lower side, and pale caterpillar is seen. Natural enemies are better to control these worms.
Spinach Crown Mite
These mites are small and transparent causes the little holes in the new leaves. Leaves become deformed, and new seedlings are damaged.
- Spinach does not show good results when it comes to storing them, so buy new and fresh seeds every year.
- Spinach does not grow well in the crowded area, so keep proper spacing.
- Prepare the soil in previous autumn if would be helpful in seed germination and growth.
Types of Spinach
Spinach is a versatile plant. The leaves are used as vegetables both in the raw and the cooked form in the number of dishes.
The followings are the three main types of spinach:
- Flat-leaf spinach
- Savoy spinach
- Semi-savoy spinach
The baby spinach is a type of flat-leaf spinach. Baby spinach is picked when the leaves are small, sweet, and tender. The flat-leaf is the most famous type of spinach by far. It has become the centrepiece of the market due to its smooth, simple, and spade-shaped leaves. It is available in markets as packaged, loose, and pre-packed. It is mainly eaten raw.
Savoy spinach is also known as curly spinach. The leaves of this type of spinach are curly and wavy and, the colour is very dark green. It is best used for cooking due to its crispy nature. The leaves are slightly bitter. It is mostly available as fresh bunches.
This type of spinach is less crinkled as compared to savoy spinach. The crispiness and the taste are the same as that of savoy spinach. The one advantage of semi-savoy spinach is that it is easy to wash. It is used for cooking and sold as fresh bunches in the market.
Spinach has many attractive benefits. Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin K, and it helps in the calcium stabilization and provides strength to the bones. Spinach is a super fantastic food to eat.
It strengthens the eyesight and immune system of the body. Vitamin A in the spinach helps the skin and membranes of the body to fight against bacteria and viruses. It improves the cardiac health of the human body.
The magnesium in spinach provides you with enough energy for the day to day tasks. It helps to reduce stress and blood pressure level among other health benefits.