Growing Spinach Inside – Indoor Potted Spinach Care

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Winter can be a tough time for fresh produce lovers. Cold temperatures mean there is little in the garden with which to make a salad. Plants like spinach, which are easy to grow in the cooler seasons, are still not frost hardy. Can spinach grow indoors though?

Growing spinach inside is easier than you might think, especially baby varieties. Get some tips on indoor spinach plants and start planning your salad now.

Can Spinach Grow Indoors?

Spinach is a versatile green that is useful in salads, stews, soups, and stir fries. It is also quite easy to grow from seed. Most seeds will sprout in a week and they grow rapidly, with leaves ready for use in a month. Best of all, indoor potted spinach can be used consistently and will grow new leaves.

Greens of many types are among the easiest food crops to grow indoors. They sprout rapidly and take off with little special care. When you grow crops like spinach inside, you can avoid purchasing it in a supermarket, where contamination is often found. Plus, you know it’s organic and safe for your family.

First start with your variety. You can grow standard or baby spinach, but the full sized plants will need more room. Next, select a container. Shallow pots work well, as the spinach does not have a huge root depth. Then, purchase or make a good soil. It should be well draining, as spinach cannot handle soggy conditions.

Starting Indoor Potted Spinach

Lightly pre-moisten the soil and fill the container. Sow seeds one inch deep (2.5 cm.). For faster germination, place the container in a warm location and cover with plastic. Remove the plastic once per day to let excess moisture escape and prevent damping off. Keep the container lightly moist by misting.

Once you see two pairs of true leaves, thin the little seedlings to at least 3 inches (7.6 cm.) apart. You can use these tiny plants in salad, so don’t throw them away! Indoor spinach plants need to be in fairly bright light. Purchase a plant light if you have a low light situation.

Tips on Growing Spinach Inside

If you live in a region with hot temperatures year-round, purchase a variety that is low to bolt and keep containers in the coolest room of the home. To keep the plants producing those tasty leaves, give them diluted liquid fertilizer after a month. Use an organic formula to ensure the safety of your food or wait at least a week before harvesting any leaves.

Even indoor plants can get bugs, so keep a careful eye out and treat with organic pesticides if necessary. Rotate your container every few days so all sides get good light exposure. When the greens are a few inches (7.6 cm.) apart, start harvesting. Just take a few leaves from each plant for continued production and enjoy.

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Growing Spinach Indoors in Containers

Spinach is a cool weather crop which does well growing indoors in containers. However, most varieties of spinach need the cool temperatures of spring and fall, or they bolt and develop a bitter taste. When you grow spinach indoors, keep the containers in an area with mild temperatures, and you will be harvesting tasty and nutritious leafy greens in as little as 40 days.

Selecting an Indoor Site for Growing Spinach

Spinach likes cool temperatures in the range of 50º-80ºF (10º to 27ºC), and this is true even if you are growing it indoors in planting containers. Find an area in your house where the temperature stays within this range both day and night and where the plants will not be subjected to blasts of hot or cold air.

Spinach grows quickly in full-sun, but it also tolerates a fair amount of shade. Choose an indoor growing site for spinach with at least six hours of sun, or, put the plants under a grow lamp for six or more hours a day.

Selecting a Container for Growing Spinach Indoors

Full-grown spinach plants are not very large, and you can grow one or two plants successfully in a 1 gallon (3.8 liter) pot, or you can use a larger container and grow more plants together.

If you are growing your spinach to full-size, give each plant a minimum of 6 square inches (15 square cm) of space in the container. If you prefer baby spinach, you can plant the seeds or seedling at 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6cm) apart.

Fill the container with a good-quality potting mix or garden soil mixed with compost or decomposed manure, because spinach requires a nutrient rich soil. Be sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom, and place the container on a water-catchment tray.

Caring for Spinach Indoors

Growing spinach indoors requires much the same care as growing it outdoors, except indoors, spinach plants have more protection against pests like slugs and snails.

Care for your indoor spinach plants by:

  • Making sure the plants have at least six hours of direct sun or light from a grow lamp each day.
  • Water frequently and keep soil moist.
  • Fertilize weekly with a dilute fish emulsion or other nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
  • Keep temperatures in the recommended range of 50º-80ºF (10º to 27ºC).
  • Harvest individual leaves or the entire plant before it begins to bolt, usually in 40 to 50 days after germination. Check the seed package for days to maturity.

You can also harvest outer leaves of the plant sooner, but do not pick more than 50 percent of the leaves, allowing the inner core of leaves to develop and continue growing.

You can grow spinach continuously all year round with successive planting.

  • Savory: Bloomsdale has thick leaves and can handle cold very well but needs regular leaf cleaning.
  • Semi-savory: It is a great choice for an indoor garden. Tyee (can be grown year-round), Teton, Indian Summer, and Catalina are the best choices.
  • Disease-resistant Varieties: ‘Wolter’, ‘Nordic IV’, ‘Melody’, ‘Tyee’ and ‘Olympia’.
  • Varieties for Fall Planting: ‘Avon,’ ‘Tyee,’ ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ ‘Melody,’ and ‘Indian Summer.’
  • Varieties that Overwinterwell: ‘Cold-resistant Savoy,’ ‘Tyee,’ and ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing.’
  • Best for Growing in Container: ‘Melody’ and ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid.’

Note: In warm, hot climates, spinach begins to bolt soon and starts setting seeds. Hence, while growing spinach in the tropics, go for heat-tolerant varieties.

Growing Spinach From Seed Can Be a Little Tricky. Here's why!

Spinach is an easy to grow crop that does well in areas where there is at least a month or so of cooler weather. It does well when grown indoors and can withstand frosts and light freezes.

If you're growing outdoors, plant your seeds as soon as the snow is gone and your soil can be worked. If you decide to sow in the fall, just mulch your soil over well and new growth should appear the following spring when temperatures begin to rise. A lot of gardeners prefer this method, and say that a "Fall crop" will usually taste better.

In rows 12 inches apart, space your seedlings 3 inches apart. After thinning, cover the plants with row covers to keep the pests away. Keep in mind that you may want to soak your seeds before planting to raise your germination rate. Spinach seeds can take quite a while to germinate.

Once your seedlings have emerged, be sure the soil is kept moist and add a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as blood meal or fish emulsion when seedlings are starting to mature and have reached a few inches high.

Pro Tips for Growing Spinach & Other Greens Indoors

A Few Tips for Growing Spinach in Tropics

It is a cool season crop, but growing spinach in tropics and subtropics is extremely easy. Moreover, you can grow it successively as a bi-annual crop, except in hot summer months. You’ll need to provide it shade and enough water to keep the soil temperature cool and moist.

In warm weather, vegetables like lettuce and spinach begin to bolt early and start to set seeds. One of the most important things you need to consider when growing spinach in tropics is to grow heat tolerant varieties (there are a lot of Asian varieties that are suitable for tropical climate) that grow slowly and do not bolt quickly. These varieties easily tolerate the heat and humidity.

23 easy to grow vegetables indoors under lights.

1: Spinach.

Spinach is very easy to grow indoors under lights. Spinach is one of the fastest-growing leafy green vegetables. Because you are growing indoors, you will need a pot, a light source (led grow light). Sow the seeds in a pot or you can use plastic bottles. Do not use the topsoil from your home or garden. For pots potting mix is necessary.

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2: Lettuce.

Lettuce is another easy growing leafy green. Like spinach, lettuce can also grow in pots or plastic bottles. Sow the seeds of Lettuce in potting mix. Or you can start growing lettuce from the bottom part of store-bought lettuce.

Put the bottom part in water, when you see small roots, plant that in your pot.

3: Tomatoes.

As I mentioned above growing tomatoes indoors under lights is not an easy task. But there are so many varieties of tomatoes you can grow indoors, they are called dwarf tomatoes. Here are some varieties you can grow:

  • Mohamed
  • Yellow Dwarf
  • Andrin
  • Orange Hat
  • Vilma
  • Yellow Canary

These all varieties are dwarf. They only grow 7-10 inches in height. You can grow them in grow bags or pots using potting mix.

4: Carrots.

Growing carrots in a pot are very easy. You will need a pot about one foot deep and one foot wide. You can also use grow bags instead of pots. Use potting mix soil in a pot or grow bag. Remember no matter how much your soil is good, you will need a good source of light (led grow lights) to grow all these veggies.

5: Mushrooms.

Growing mushrooms indoors is extremely easy and fast. Small mushrooms only take 2-3 days to grow. Even a plate size mushroom only take 10-15 days to grow. You can grow mushrooms in pots, grow bags or your laundry Container.

6: Scallions.

They are healthy as garlic. Growing them is very easy. You can also regrow store-bought scallions. Cut the end part of scallions about 2-3 inches. Put that in a glass of water. Change the water on a daily basis. In a few days (8-10) roots become double in length and new roots will appear.

It’s time to plant them in a pot or grow bag.

7: Green Beans.

Green beans grow very tall, so you need a good source of light. They also grow very fast. Sow the seeds in a pot, use some wood skewers to support the plants, as they grow very tall.

8: Kale.

Kale and spinach are like cousins. They almost serve the same purposes in dishes. Both are very easy to grow. They don’t require your attention on a daily basis.

Grow kale directly from seeds, in pots or grow bags (or bigger plastic bottles). Don’t let the soil dry and you are good to go.

9: Bell Pepper.

These bombs of vitamin C are extremely easy to grow indoors. Use pots, grow bags or plastic bottles to grow them. When fruits of bell pepper are ready, harvest immediately. Because the more you harvest, the plant will produce more fruit.

10: Arugula.

Arugula is very fast and easy to grow inside. They prefer a cool temperature which makes them best to grow indoors. Sprinkle the seeds of arugula in a pot filled with potting mix. Water them and place the pot or your container under your source of light.

Each plant of arugula gives you multiple harvests at maturity. Harvest the bigger leaves and leave smaller ones for later harvest.

11: Ginger.

Ginger is very easy to grow. If you have some store-bought ginger at your home you can grow your own ginger. Put the ginger bulbs in water for a few hours, so any kind of growth inhibitor dissolve in water and leave the bulb. Now plant that bulb in a grow bag, water them and watch them grow.

12: Onion.

Onion is a must vegetable in our dishes. And it is very easy to grow onion indoors. You can grow onions from seeds, but it is best to grow them from seedlings or from a scrap of store-bought.

Use a bigger bot to grow onion, because they have a bulb to expand under the soil. When the green stalk of onion is about 6 inches in height, harvest your onion.

13: Beets.

Beet is very beneficial for the patients of blood pressure. Choose a bigger container or grow bag for beets. Grow them directly from seeds. But first, soak the seeds overnight in water. Now sow the seeds in potting mix, water them and place the grow bag under a led light source and watch them grow.

14: Radish.

It is one of the fastest-growing crops. Radish can be harvested in just 3-4 weeks. That makes it a perfect crop for an indoor project. It is a moisture-loving crop. So do not let the soil dry. Also, do not overwater them, because nobody likes waterlogged soil.

Radish is a big source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.

15: Swiss Chard.

Swiss chard is not that different from kale. Growing kale is also very easy. Swiss chard is one of the toughest crops. The plants of chard required 6 hours of full sunlight. It means a good and slightly bigger source of light will be needed for this crop.

16: Mustard Green.

Mustard green is not common as other leafy greens. But they are very beneficial and easy to grow as others. You can grow them in pots or any container available.

Here are some herbs you can grow indoor under the light.

17: Basil.

Basil is one of the most common and easy growing herbs out there. Basil can be grown in every pot, literally in every pot available. If you don’t have any pot for basil, you can them in plastic bottles of Coca-Cola. Use a good kind of potting soil in your container.

You can grow this herb directly from seeds, or use cuttings from store-bought basil to grow them in pots.

18: Rosemary.

Rosemary is also very easy to grow indoors. For making your indoor garden more classy and beautiful, use mason jars for your all herbs. Make a mason jar indoor herb garden. You can use seeds or store-bought cuttings to grow rosemary.

18: Oregano.

Moderate to a strong light is good for better growth of oregano. Oregano is one of the most popular species of the mint family. Oregano can also be grown from cuttings of store-bought. When you feel the surface of the soil is dry, water the plant.

19: Bay Laurel.

This is one of the strongly flavoured herbs. The oldest leaf has a strong flavour. This herb can be attacked from different diseases easily, so pick a place with good air circulation.

20: Mint.

From a herb garden to mint garden. There are so many different varieties of herbs you can grow in your mint herb garden, peppermint, spearmint, apple, orange and banana etc.

Growing mint is very easy. Growing from store-bought mint is the easiest method. Pick some good green cuttings, plant them in potting soil, water them and they will start to grow in a few days.

21: Parsley.

This is one of the most using herbs. You cannot go wrong with growing parsley indoors. Pick a container or plastic bottle to grow parsley. Using potting soil as a growing medium. Grow them directly from seeds. Sow the seeds in Potting mix, water them and use a strong source of light.

22: Thyme.

It is a very popular member of your herb garden.

Growing thyme under light is very easy. You can grow thyme from store-bought cuttings. Water the plant when the soil feels dry. Thyme is sun-loving, so a good light source is necessary.

23: Microgreens.

A microgreen is a very beautiful addition to your indoor garden. If you are a beginner, start with microgreens.

Microgreens are way more beneficial than fully grown vegetables. They have a lot more vitamins and are full of nutrients. In 10-15 days, you can have an indoor garden, full of microgreens.

There are a lot of varieties of microgreens you can grow under lights. Here are a few of them:

  • Radish microgreens
  • Cabbage microgreens
  • Watercress microgreens
  • Mustard microgreens
  • Arugula microgreens
  • Sunflower microgreens
  • Broccoli microgreens
  • Flax microgreens
  • Pea shoots microgreens

You can have your own separate microgreens garden in no time.

Watch the video: Growing Spinach Indoors Under Lights

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