Plant Baby Spinach in Early Spring or Fall
For growing baby spinach outdoors, prepare the ground by adding compost and mixing it in well in the top 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7cm) of soil. Spinach likes fertile soil with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5, which is a bit more alkaline than many other crops prefer, so check the pH level and adjust it if needed.
Sow your spinach seeds when daytime temperatures are over 40ºF (4.4ºC) but still under 75ºF (24ºC), because spinach does not grow well in warm weather.
You can plant a baby spinach crop by forming rows approximately 12 inches (30cm) apart, if you plan on leaving some of the plants to mature to a bigger size.
If you want to harvest all of your crop as baby spinach, you can plant the seeds approximately 2 inches (5cm) apart in all directions, or simply broadcast a handful of seeds over the soil surface and put about ½ inch (1.3cm) of soil or potting mix over them to cover.
Whichever way you plant the seeds, be sure they are covered with approximately ½ inch (1.3cm) of soil, and then firm the soil gently over the seeds to eliminate air pockets.
Water the seed bed gently and do not let it dry out, and the seeds will germinate in 5 to 14 days. Keep the soil moist at all times as the plants grow, because spinach bolts quickly when soil conditions are dry or temperatures get too warm.
Fast Growing Baby Spinach Varieties
Just about any spinach variety can be grown for baby spinach leaves – just harvest the small leaves as soon as they are about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5cm) in diameter.
However, some varieties of spinach are especially fast to mature, making them a good choice for quick harvest of baby leaves. These include:
- Carmel – 25 to 35 days
- Emperor – 27 days
- Gazelle – 26 days
- Flamingo – 27 days
- Red Kitten – 28 days
- Woodpecker – 28 days
All of these varieties also grow well in containers, and by planting spinach seeds every 2 to 3 weeks, you can keep on harvesting baby spinach throughout the entire season.