The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit
Guide to commercial spinach cultivation
In a few words, almost all farmers who cultivate spinach commercially, sow spinach seeds (mostly hybrids) directly to the field during autumn or spring. Subsequently, especially when growing spinach for the processing market, most commercial farmers reduce the plants (they remove some plants from the field, so that fewer plants remain and better air circulation).
In most cases manure, sprinkler irrigation and pest management are used. Harvesting time depends on whether we are growing spinach for fresh market or processing market. In many cases, spinach plants grown for fresh markets are pruned in about 40–55 days after planting (the entire plant is destroyed).
In contrast, spinach leaves grown for the processing market are harvested in about 60–80 days after planting. In many cases, both fresh and processed plants (but mostly processing market plants) are left to grow again after the first harvest, so that farmers can harvest the crop a second time.
Spinach soil requirements
Spinach can grow well in average soil, but it will grow much better in soil rich in organic matter. Typically, soil type and pH rarely become restrictive factors when growing spinach. However, many farmers have reported that spinach grows more well in sandy loam soils with pH 6,5 to 6,8.
In case of severe phosphorus deficiencies, farmers can apply P2O5 at the rate of 50 kg per hectare a few days before sowing the seeds. Keep in mind that every farm and its needs are different. The farmers should analyze the soil before planting saplings.
They can also consult a local licensed agronomist to formulate a logical plan for preparing the field. To improve nitrogen levels, some farmers also add rotten dung manure and plow the field well before planting seeds. However, keep in mind that these are just some common patterns that you should not follow without doing your own research.
Spinach Water Requirements
The roots of spinach plant do not go down too much. Therefore, to get good yield, this plant prefers irrigation in small amounts more often. As a general rule, farmers should focus on keeping the soil moist during the growing period.
Experienced farmers claim that keeping the soil always moist helps the plant in two ways. First, the plant will be able to absorb essential water. Secondly, this will reduce the soil temperature, which will lead to better spinach yield.
Spinach starts giving seeds in hot weather. In such a situation, plants are genetically made to devote their resources to the production of seeds rather than to the development of leaves.
Therefore, this product cannot be sold. In most cases, during the first two weeks, there may be three to four irrigation sessions per week. Farmers are suggested to irrigate early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This can prevent evaporation of water from the heat of the sun.
More than half of the world’s spinach production is fed through sprinklers. However, in some cases, excessive sprinkler irrigation can cause spots on the leaves.
Spinach; How to grow healthy and green spinach
Generally, spinach usually needs cold weather, as already mentioned, so most farmers start planting it in early spring or at the end of autumn. Many farmers prefer to plant spinach seeds about six weeks before the last frost of spring.
In areas with cold spring, seeds can be sown every ten days until the end of spring (mid-May). While sowing spinach in hot climate, we can also sow them in the shade of tall crops like wheat, beans or corn.
Depending on its variety, spinach can be grown at temperatures between 50–70 ° F degrees (10–21 ° C). When we decide to plant spinach in spring or autumn, it is perfect to plant spinach in a sunny place with light shade and good drainage.
During winter, we can protect our plants from cold frames or cover them with grass. Farmers often remove these safety measures only after the temperature reaches 40 ° F degrees (5 ° C).
In most cases, spinach is sown directly in the field. Farmers can plant spinach seeds (mostly hybrids) directly on the ground or spread them in the field. Plants need enough space in between to grow. When sowing seeds directly, we plant the seeds in rows at a depth of 1–1,18 inches (2,5–3 cm). For continuous production, we can sow seeds every 10-15 days.
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To get good growth and increase their yield, farmers can take the following factors into consideration.
- Seed planting rate: 40 to 60 pounds (20 to 30 kg) of seed per hectare.
- Germination of seeds will be better in 41-68 ° F (5 to 20 ° C) temperature.
- Spinach seeds need to be planted at a depth of ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2,5 cm) covered with light soil.
- Distance between plants: There should be 7-11 inch (20-30 cm) distance between rows and 3-6 inch (7-15 cm) distance between plants in row.
- The farmers irrigate the field immediately after sowing spinach seeds.
- Spinach is often planted with another plant. Farmers can plant other plants between rows of spinach plants. For which cabbage, onion and celery are often used.
- To encourage the finest leaf surface in plants, plants are thinned. While growing spinach for the processing market, it is the most commonly used technique.
- The soil remains moist due to regular but not too much water in the spinach crop.
- The management of weeds cannot be ignored. Wild grasses not only compete with the spinach for nutrients and sunlight, but also prevents proper air circulation between them, making plants more susceptible to disease.
- Farmers can consult local professionals (licensed agricultural experts) to make proper plans for growing healthy and high quality spinach.
Nutrient management in spinach crops
Spinach can also grow leaves in average soil, but it flourishes in nutrient rich soil. Many experienced farmers add compost and phosphorus manure to the soil a few days before sowing the seeds.
In case of severe phosphorus deficiencies, farmers can apply P2O5 at a rate of 50 kg per hectare a few days before sowing seeds (ask licensed agronomist). Keep in mind that 1 hectare = 2,47 acres = 10.000 square meters. The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit
Many farmers use fertilization, that is, they incorporate water-soluble fertilizers into the irrigation system. In this way, they can boost yields and also save time by giving compost and water to the plants simultaneously. It is suggested to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using any fertilization method.
Spinach is a leafy vegetable and we grow it to collect its leaves. As a result, in most cases, farmers can add nitrogen and phosphorus during different stages of plant growth to increase the total surface of the leaf.
Spinach needs 70–80 kg of nitrogen per hectare, depending on the type of spinach (Savoy vs. Smooth). Many farmers also add ammonium nitrate (N-P-K-20-0-0) at the rate of 50 kg per hectare (ask your local licensed agronomist).
In the case of organic farming, we can use nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer. While growing spinach plants, organic fertilizer may be added once or twice. We can also use compost manure mixed with other sources (eg fish emulsion etc.). In most cases, organic manure helps control weeds and conserve soil moisture during the summer months.
It is important to keep in mind that any type of fertilizer does not come in contact with small plants, otherwise, we may have problems. After fertilizing, it is suggested to irrigate the crops.
Please keep in mind that these are just some common fertilization methods that should not be followed without doing your own research. Every farm is different and has different needs. It is very important to analyze the soil and know your crop history before applying any manure. You can consult a licensed agronomist.
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Insects and diseases
Unfortunately, spinach plants often have insects and diseases. It is necessary for us to know the enemies of our local crop to face them by finding environmentally friendly solutions. Before taking action, farmers can consult a local licensed professional for proper control of foster insects and diseases.
Aphids; Aphid is usually the most common enemy of spinach plants. Adults and nymphs live on plant juices. As a result, we get products that cannot be sold in the market.
Leaf Minor; They mostly eat leaves.
Slugs and snails; These two often emerge from wet soil and attack the leaves. If they do not face them properly, they can also eat the entire plant. The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit
Mosaic virus; The virus can infect about 150 different types of vegetables and plants. We can identify it by looking at the color of the leaves. The infected leaves have yellow and white spots. The plants stop growing and they slowly die.
The disease is caused by Peronospora ferinosa germ. We can identify it by looking at the leaves. They are often bent and have mildew and dark spots.
Spinach Blight; This virus affects the leaves. The infected leaves stop growing and their color turns yellowish brown.
Insect and disease control
Prevention is the best way to control insects and diseases rather than taking action. The farmers of spinach should keep the following measures in mind:
Use of certified seeds is suggested. In most cases, farmers choose hybrid varieties that are resistant to bolting and mild mildew.
Low germination or inappropriate germination rate of seeds will intensify the negative effects of insects and diseases.
Inadequate fertilization and / or irrigation will trigger negative impacts.
Chemical control measures are permitted only after consulting a local licensed agronomist.
The crop cycle can be used to control some diseases. The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit
Harvesting time depends on whether we are growing spinach for fresh market or processing market. In most cases, spinach plants grown for fresh markets are pruned in about 38–55 days after planting (the entire plant is destroyed).
In contrast, spinach leaves grown for the processing market are harvested in about 60–80 days after planting. In many cases, both fresh and processing plants (but mostly processing plants) are left to grow again after the first harvest, so that farmers can harvest the second time.
In developed countries, spinach is mostly harvested from machines attached to tractors. These machines either collect the entire plant and destroy it (cut at once) or cut the leaves to a predetermined height to allow the plants to grow again and harvest a second time.
After collecting spinach, the leaves of spinach, including soil, dust, and stones, pass through the lattice, where the spinach is separated from the external materials and collected.
In developing countries, spinach can also be cut with scissors. Farmers can either cut the entire plant (and thus destroy it) or cut a part of it a few weeks later to allow the plants to grow again for harvesting. According to many experienced farmers, it is better to harvest the plants early in the morning. In this way, we can protect the plants from sunlight. The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit
Spinach leaves are usually available in the market immediately after harvesting, and the product can be provided fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Fresh spinach can be kept in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. In large commercial spinach farms, farmers immediately cool chopped spinach leaves to prevent product spoilage.
Spinach yield per hectare
The average yield of spinach is 20-30 tonnes per hectare. Apparently, experienced farmers can get such a large crop after many years of practice. After harvesting the same crop multiple times, we can get 10-15 tonnes of spinach per hectare every season from 2 – 3 harvesting seasons.
Keep in mind that 1 ton = 1000 kg = 2200 pounds and 1 hectare = 2,47 acres = 10.000 square meters.
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The correct way to cultivate Spinach and get good profit