Growing Spinach as a Micro-green
The seeds of alfalfa, mung bean, radish, arugula, buckwheat, sunflower, and many other vegetables produce sprouts, or microgreens, when grown in flats or simply sprouted in jars. Spinach sprouts, however, are not very palatable when grown in this way. Some spinach seeds are treated with chemicals which inhibit fungal diseases, so if you want to grow them as a micro-green, be sure to use untreated seed.
The best way of producing ultra-small spinach seedlings and using them in a way similar to sprouts is by germinating the spinach seeds in the ground, or growing them in flats indoors, and then harvesting and eating the seedlings.
You will need:
- Several packages of untreated spinach seed.
- Seedling flats with water-catchment trays for each flat, or,
- Well-prepared garden soil outdoors.
Spinach seeds germinate at temperatures between 40º to 75ºF (4.4º to 24ºC), but they will grow faster at the higher end of this temperature range.
If you are growing spinach outdoors, space the seeds 1 inch (2.5cm) apart in the rows, so you will have extra seedling to thin out and enjoy as a micro-green. Firm the soil over the seeds and water them regularly, not letting the soil dry-out between watering.
Once the seedlings germinate and develop their first set of true leaves, thin them to a spacing of about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) apart, leaving some plants to grow and mature. Carefully wash the small plants you have pulled-out and use them as you would use other sprouts in salads, sandwiches, or stir-fry dishes.
Growing Spinach Sprouts Indoors
You can also grow tiny spinach plants indoors in gardening flats or pots by planting the seed 1 inch (1.3cm) apart in all directions. When the seedlings are about 2 inches (5cm) tall, harvest as many as you like, wash them carefully, and eat them as a micro-green.