Spinach crop sheet

Activity

Spinach can be sown as a spring and summer crop. Perennial spinach (chard) is a relative of beetroot and can be harvested through the winter.  

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science

Learning objectives

  • Learn what plants need to grow
  • Choose suitable tools for the job
  • Learn how to handle seeds and sow them
  • Learn how to plant out at a specified distance

Preparation

Ensure the soil is well cultivated, watered and warm enough for seed sowing to take place.
Sow early spinach crops under fleece, in a polytunnel or under cloches from March onwards.
Continue to sow unprotected until August.
Sow Chard from April to July.

Equipment needed 

  • Rake or hand cultivator
  • Trowel and bamboo cane
  • Measuring stick
  • Seeds (check they are suitable to sow at the time of year)
  • Watering can with a rose
  • Enviromesh or horticultural fleece
  • Label and pencil

Step by step

  1. Make a drill (channel) in the soil 2.5cm deep. Use a measuring stick to keep it straight if using a trowel or push a bamboo cane horizontally into the soil to the correct depth.
  2. Take one pinch of spinach seeds at a time and sprinkle them along the drill evenly until you have a continuous row of seeds. Or sow 3 perennial spinach seeds every 20cm.
  3. Cover the seeds and firm the soil above them with the back of a trowel. Water the drill using a watering can with a rose. Label the row and make another one 30cm away and do the same again.
  4. When the seedlings are about 4cm tall, thin them out so there is about 15-20cm between each one. Keep watering spinach and chard in dry weather and remove any weeds.
  5. Harvest your spinach leaves as soon as they are big enough. If winter crops are protected from frost the two types you should have a year-round supply.

Hints & tips

  • Rainbow chard is a colourful addition to any school vegetable or flower garden. Try growing it with edible flowers in containers.
  • Good spacing between plants reduces fungal diseases (mouldy leaves).

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