How to Harvest Spinach

how to harvest spinach

Spinach is a unique leafy green crop that can be grown and harvested multiple times in the year to enjoy each stage of the spinach plant.

Spinach is a popular crop known for its high nutritional value as it is a rich source of vitamin C, iron, and fiber. You can consume fresh spinach in salad spinner or smoothies and can also cook it to create a variety of dishes.

Spinach is a fast-growing crop that grows best during the winter and early spring seasons. Harvesting the crop requires intensive care as spinach is peculiar about its growing season and can be harvested as baby greens and mature leaves, depending on your priority.

The spinach leaves can be planted both indoors and outdoor, considering the area is vast enough to grow spinach as it expands during growth.

The wonderful crop is easy to plant, but the tricky part is only knowing the right time to harvest the spinach.

How to Harvest Spinach?

Harvesting spinach is an easy task. You just need to be careful while using scissors and refrain from cutting the entire plant and above the crown region to encourage the spinach to keep growing throughout the growing season for the second harvest and the next harvest sessions after that.

You can harvest spinach in three ways:

By the Leaf

harvesting spinach

Once you have a suitable place to store the harvested leaves, just grab a pair of scissors to begin the process.

Depending on your priority and need, you can choose any size of spinach leaves to harvest, from baby leaves to mature, fully grown leaves. Once you have decided the size, find the leaves of that size, grab each leaf with one hand, and cut the stem of the leaf with the other hand.

Just be careful to harvest only 1/3 of each plant. Once you have finished harvesting, simply water the plant to encourage new plant growth. You will see the new growth within 7-14 days as spinach is an ever-growing plant during winter. You can repeat the process for multiple harvests.

By the Bunch

This method is most effective for harvesting several spinach leaves at one time. You just need to grab a sharp serrated knife, gather up as many spinach leaves as you can and cut the leaves through the stems using the knife.

Make sure you cut above the stems to keep your plant growing. It will encourage the plant to grow back, and you can simply continue harvesting until the end of the late spring.

By the Plant

when to harvest baby spinach

The third method is the harvesting of the whole plant. This method is used when the growing season is about to end, and you must clear your vegetable garden to plant other seasonal plants.

Consider this kind of harvesting method when you notice that your plant is about to bolt or the cool season crop is no longer getting suitable growing conditions.

Start to remove the whole plant one by one using a knife. Cut the plant below the crown point or simply pull the entire plant out.

When Should I Harvest Spinach?

Before deciding the harvest time, note when you planted the vegetable crops. It is important because the harvesting time depends on the time of the plantation. There are three times when it is appropriate to plant spinach. The three best times are:

  • Early spring
  • Late summer or early fall
  • Late fall until mid-summer

The time to harvest spinach will arrive according to the time of plantation. However, the early spring harvest and fall harvest times are the most widely known time to reap.

Spinach can be harvested multiple times after two weeks of planting the spinach seeds. When spinach plants have numerous multiple-sized leaves and are around 4-6 inches long, the time is right for you to pick spinach.

Also, you can keep harvesting spinach plants depending on your need. You can pick from various sizes, including the baby spinach seeds or the young plants for the salad spinner. You can pick a few leaves or a whole bunch once you notice the first growth of your spinach plants.

The fast-growing plant will continue to grow multiple times, given that you carefully harvest the green leaves.

The best time of the day to begin the spinach harvesting is morning or evening time. The plant picked during the daytime tends to wilt owing to the soreness that the heat may cause the sensitive plant to deplete.

Make sure to harvest spinach leaves before the climate gets too warm completely. In cold climates, plants will start bolting or setting seeds as the weather becomes too hot. This will result in a bitter taste and cause the plant to wilt.

Spinach harvest should be done before the plants set seed, which tends to happen when the spinach plants are fully grown and start to reproduce.

Can you Harvest Spinach after it Bolts?

Once you notice the bitter taste of your plant’s leaves, then know that your plant is starting to bolt and needs to be harvested. When the leaves cannot re-grow, and a central stem with flower buds appears, this process is called bolting.

This indicates that the spinach growing season is ending, and the time is right to harvest all the plants.

Spinach is a cool weather vegetable that starts to flower or bolt once the sun is too high and warm temperatures begin. This marks the end of the spinach growing season.

How do you Know Spinach is Ready to Pick?

The spinach plants can be harvested multiple times, depending on your demand. The timing of harvesting your spinach leaves depends on the types of green leaves you have planted.

If you are gardening baby spinach, they can be picked when the leaves are the size of a golf ball. Baby leaves can be eaten raw and have a more tender texture than any other stage of spinach growth.

If you want mature leaves, then wait for the leaves to get thick and broad, then the leaves are ready to be harvested. This usually takes 38-50 days for the leaves to mature.

The cold hardy crops can keep growing until the end of the cold weather. Spinach cannot thrive in hot temperatures, so the moment you realize that the leaves are mature enough to be harvested, then make haste before your fresh spinach bolts.

How to Dry Fresh Spinach

how to pick spinach

If you wish to store spinach leaves for a long period, then freezing the leaves is the best long-term storage method.

Spinach does not grow during warm seasons, so frozen veggies are useful to have, and you can consume your favorite green vegetables even during the off-season.

The ways to freeze the cool weather vegetable are mentioned here:

  • Clean spinach leaves by placing them in boiling water.
  • Dry the vegetable leaves using an oven or a fruit dryer machine.
  • Afterward, place the dried leaves on a baking sheet and freeze the leaves in a freezer.
  • Gather all the frozen leaves and place them in layers. Then, secure the leaves in a freezer-safe container. You can also cut the vegetable for space saving.
  • The frozen spinach can last for a year.

How to Store Fresh Spinach

Once you have harvested enough fresh and clean spinach leaves and are wondering where to store these precious leaves, here is what you will need to do to keep the leaves fresh for a longer period.

Wash the freshly cut leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and secure them in a glass container or sealed plastic bag. Then place the packed leaves in the refrigerator and try using them within a week after harvesting.

Can I Freeze Spinach?

Most leafy greens vegetables can easily be stored, and spinach is no different in this regard. Spinach cannot survive in full sun, so during such times, freezing the vegetable will be the most convenient way to store it for up to a year.

Frozen spinach can last for a year, so you can even enjoy the tasty treat even during summers.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is the most famous leafy green vegetable to grow at home. Moreover, the most unique thing about this plant is that you can start harvesting spinach plants during different stages of its growth and the best part is that it keeps growing for multiple harvests.

Growing spinach is an easy process but still requires proper planning and observation to keep track of the time of its plantation, so that you may know ahead when to harvest spinach leaves accordingly.

The harvest part requires close attention as you would not want to remove the entire plant that will rob your plant from re-growing. So, to avoid this from happening, follow the steps mentioned in the article to harvest the plant carefully.

Furthermore, you can also store spinach leaves by freezing them in freezing bags that will stay preserved for the whole year, and you can cook them whenever you want, even during the off-season.

For the amazing nutritional spinach, it is highly recommended to grow this amazing plant at home, according to the information discussed in this article.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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