What are the secrets for growing spinach from seed successfully? Because many people have difficulty getting the seeds to germinate, I thought I would give a few helpful hints on getting the seed started, and helping the plants grow well once they are up.

-Prepare soil with liberal amounts of organic matter. Incorporate fertilizer such as Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer or Happy Frog Marine Cuisine prior to planting.

-If your soil is heavy or tends to hold moisture for prolonged periods, plant in raised beds using the “ridge and furrow” method of bed preparation.

-Your soil should have sufficient moisture at the time of planting. If soil seems dry, water it several days before planting. Applying water after planting, but before germination occurs, often causes seedling diseases and should be avoided if possible.

-Prepare seeds by placing seed in a container filled with water and setting it in your refrigerator for 24-48 hours just prior to planting. The seed’s absorption of the cold water will help initiate germination.

-Spinach seed germinates very poorly at warm temperatures-To avoid a poor stand, make your first fall planting when soil temperatures are 75 degrees or below.

-Successive plantings may be made until 6-8 weeks before temperatures are anticipated to drop to near 20 degrees. Also, stop planting about six weeks before daytime temperatures are expected to average above 75 degrees.

-Depending on soil temperature, the seedlings should be up in 7-10 days. About two weeks after emergence, thin the seedling to a spacing of 4-6 inches apart.

-Two weeks after thinning, fertilize with a light application of the fertilizer mentioned above.

-Maintain consistent soil moisture as your spinach grows, as the feeder roots are in the top 8-10 inches of soil.

-If a hard freeze is expected (in the 20’s), you can mulch your plants 2”-3” deep to protect them from freezing. Pull the mulch back after the freeze and the plants will resume growth.

Hopefully, these tips will help you have a successful crop of nutritious Spinach in the cool winter months.