Super spinach

Spinach is a leafy crop and is an attractive and tasty addition to the vegetable garden or a flower border


Spinacia oleracea (means spinach of the vegetable garden)

Common Name

Spinach is famous because it is the favourite food of the cartoon character Popeye the sailor, who gets enormous strength after eating a can of it. Why don’t you try growing some spinach?

Interesting Facts

Spinach is in the Chenopodiaceae family of plants. This is also known as the goosefoot family as the leaves look like the feet of a goose! You can eat the leaves of the spinach plant.

Growing Tips

When to grow

Sow winter varieties at the beginning of September (summer varieties mid- March to the end of May).

It’s important to check the seed packets carefully for sowing times of different types. Spinach prefers to grow in soil where there has been lots of organic matter (e.g. compost, well-rotted manure) added and is well drained.

There are winter hardy varieties of spinach, they don’t grow much in winter but become ready to pick in the spring.

Winter spinach varieties like a sunny place to grow.

You will need:

  • Packet of spinach seeds
  • Gardening gloves
  • A rake
  • A hand trowel

How to grow

  1. Make sure that you weed the space where you are going to sow your seeds using a hand trowel.
  2. Rake the soil to a fine tilth (this is when the soil looks crumbly) and rake the soil so that it is level.
  3. Decide where your row or rows of seeds will be planted, then sow the seeds thinly 1.5cm deep in rows or in a large container. If you are planting more than one row then allow 30cm between the rows.
  4. Once seedlings have grown, thin out the plants to allow 8cm between plants. You can use the thinnings in salads & cooking.
  5. A few weeks later harvest every alternate plant to allow 15cm final spacing between plants.
  6. Remember to water your plants. You can add a layer of mulch by putting a layer of compost, straw or leaf mould around the plants. This will help keep moisture in the soil.


You can begin to harvest and eat yummy spinach leaves by picking some of the leaves off the plant.

For winter varieties you can do this from October to April.

In the spring you can take out every other plant to allow the others to grow.

Recommended AGM spinach varieties (81kB pdf)

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.