Knowing the Best Time for Harvesting Spinach

Many people love spinach for its flavor, tenderness, and all the healthy vitamins and minerals in this popular garden vegetable. But the key to growing great spinach is in knowing when to harvest it. Spinach is ready for harvest much sooner than many other vegetables, and the fastest growing varieties reach full-maturity in as little as 35 days after germination.


When to Harvest Your Spinach

In fact, you can harvest your spinach almost anytime during its growth cycle, up to the time the plants begin bolting and going to seed.

  • Plant extra seeds in each row of spinach, and then thin out ultra-baby spinach seedlings, adding them to salads or sandwiches as you would with sprouts.
  • Wait until the spinach plants form a small rosette of about five or six leaves, and then trim a few baby leaves from the outside of each plant, leaving the central area to grow and produce new leaves.
  • Harvest individual leaves from the plants at any point up to the full days-to-maturity date.
  • Harvest your spinach crop by cutting the entire plant at its base when the plants have grown for the full days-to-maturity indicated on the seed package.

Whenever you pick your spinach, wash the leaves carefully just before eating, as spinach leaves often hold onto dirt and grit which splashes onto the leaves during watering.

How to Harvest Spinach Leaves

When thinning out extra spinach seedlings to eat, just pull the plants up root and all. You may want to trim off the roots before using the baby leaves.

If you are cutting baby leaves from small plants, you can simply pinch them off with your fingers, or cut them with a small pair of scissors. Cut the leaf stem close to the plant.

For harvest of the entire spinach plant, use a sharp knife and cut the base of the plant at soil level while holding the leaves gently in a bunch with your other hand. You can also pull the entire plant up and then trim-off the roots with scissors or a sharp knife.

Keeping Spinach Fresh after Harvest

Eat spinach seedlings from thinning of plants the same day you pick them. They do not last long after harvest.

Handle your harvested spinach leaves carefully, because they bruise easily and turn a dark and unappetizing color when damaged.

Put your harvested spinach in a plastic bag and refrigerate it immediately after picking. Wash the leaves carefully in a bowl of water just before you use them.