SPINACH FARMING, PLANTING, CARE, HARVESTING TECHNIQUES.
Mkulima, Smart Agribusiness Forum Africa.
MkulimaTODAY Spinach is a hot season leafy vegetable grown across africa, this can be grown in back yards as well as open fields commercially. Known for lush green foliage spinach is rich in iron, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Spinach crop can be harvested after 6-8 weeks from planting. In a warm climate, spinach tends to produce seeds rather than growing the foliage. So harvest it at the right time. Spinach can be grown in containers at home, follow below tips for success
MkulimaTODAY – Some facts about Growing Spinach:
• Spinach can be grown from full sun to partial shade either in the home garden or outdoor gardens. Spinach is best to grow in pots/containers in balconies, backyards even on the terrace.
• Spinach is a cool season crop and produces harvest all year round. It can be grown indoors as well.
• Spinach requires good fertilizers and nutrients as it is a heavy feeder. 4-1-2 ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (n-p-k) are good enough to grow healthy spinach leaves.
• Usually, spinach is germinated from seeds and even can be grown from cuttings. You can maintain 3 inches space between plants and 2 feet row to row distance.
• Spinach can grow back and gives multiple harvests with proper growing practices.
• If spinach is grown in pots, the ideal size of the pot is 10 to 12 inches.
• Spinach is grown as an annual crop and it tolerates some shade and requires 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. In the case of dry and hot climates, it requires more watering.
• The bolting of spinach is due to moisture stress (providing less water) in the final stages of the plant.
• Spinach can be regrown from cuttings plus spinach can be grown easily from the seed germination.
Types of spinach
There are 3 basic types of spinach can be grown throughout the world:
1. Savoy has dark green
3. curly leaves
CLIMATIC REQUIREMENT FOR SPINACH PLANTATION:
Spinach is a hot weather crop but can also be gown during the moderate winter season. It can also tolerate frost to some extent. Spinach does well during the winter season. It is extremely susceptible to water logging and bad drainage. It can be grown successfully in plains and on hills.
THE SOIL REQUIREMENT FOR SPINACH PLANTATION:
Spinach grows in any type of well-drained soil. However loamy soil is ideal. Soil should be loose too so that spinach seedlings could establish roots easily and quickly. Add a fine layer of garden compost or field yard manure (FYM) to the soil. It will provide nutrients to the plants.
PROPAGATION AND SOWING OF SPINACH:
Spinach is propagated from seeds. Prepare soil enriched with garden compost or FYM and sow seeds a ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Water the soil without affecting seeds. Seeds germinate in a week. It requires 12-15 kg seed per acre. Seeds are soaked in water before sowing. Seeds are generally broadcast in flatbeds. However, line-sowing at 20 cm distance is convenient for intercultural operation as this increases air circulation around the crop and minimizes the chances of any fungal attack.
MANURES AND FERTILIZERS FOR SPINACH:
Spinach doesn’t have feeding requirements. Good quality compost works well as fertilizer. 30 to 50 bags of farm yard manure (FYM) should be at the time of soil preparation. 30 kg of NITROGEN FERTILISER/acre should be applied, a ½ dose of N should be given at the time of sowing, remaining ½ dose is again divided into two equal doses which are given at the time of first and second harvesting.
WEED CONTROL IN SPINACH CROP:
One or two weeding should be given to keep the spinach crop clean, and healthy.
WATER REQUIREMENT FOR SPINACH PLANTS:
Spinach is a humidity-loving plant. Mulch the soil using dried leaves, straws, etc to retain moisture around the plant. Winter spinach crop needs irrigation 10 -15 days interval depending on soil type. January- planted spinach crop needs irrigation at 6 to 7 days interval in summer months. Keep soil moist.
HARVESTING AND THE YIELD OF SPINACH:
Start harvesting crop after 6-8 weeks of planting. Cut off outer leaves which are 3-4 inches long. It will encourage more growth on the plant and ultimately results in more foliage to harvest. Only well grown succulent and tender leaves be trimmed. Winter crop gives more cuttings. On an average crop give 4 -6 cuttings. The total yield of green leaves is 3200- 4000Kgs per acre.
After harvesting, leaves are tied in bundles and sent for marketing.
Remember to harvest the crop completely before plant blots and produces seeds. (Generally, when the temperature rises the plant tends to flower and fruit due to increased temperature and stops producing more leaves).
The bottom line of growing Spinach:
Commercial spinach farming is good profitable farming if done smartly.
PRODUCTION OF SEED
1. Minimum 1000 meters should be maintained all around pinach seed field from other varieties.
2. 50 cm x 30 cm distance should be maintained Row to Row and plant to plant.
3. For field inspection skip one row after every five rows.
4. Minimum of three field inspections should be made for getting the true type of seed.
5. First inspection should be made at vegetative phase
6. Second inspection should be made at bolting phase.
7. Third and last inspection should be done before harvesting of the crop.
8. The crop should be harvested when most of the late ripening seed stalk turns brown.
9. After harvesting the crop should be left on the field for curing and drying for a week before seed threshing.
10. To conclude, spinach is a healthy vegetable that can be grown easily in your kitchen garden too.
Contact our consultants for further help,seeds and other inputs!