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Discover the Different Types of Spinach for Your Garden

Discover the Different Types of Spinach for Your Garden

Spinach is a wonderful green to have in your cool weather (and hot weather - but more on that later) garden. There are different types of spinach to grow for every context, and knowing which one to grow is what will make you a successful spinach grower! Spinach is versatile in the kitchen and in the garden. It’s easy to grow and doesn’t take up too much space. Add it to your garden and enjoy the bountiful harvest! 

Understanding Spinach Types 

Spinach varieties are typically split up into three categories. While they’re all in the same plant family as beets and chard, their distinctive characteristics make distinguishing them from each other useful. 


Savoy spinach is one of the more common types, particularly when we’re talking about what’s available at the grocery store. They have a crinkled shape and are particularly delicious when eaten raw. 


Semi-savoy spinach varieties are crosses between flat-leaf varieties and savoyed varieties. Their leaves tend to be slightly crinkled but they stand up straighter than other types, making harvesting a breeze.

Flat Leaf

Flat leaf spinach are distinguished from the other two by their smooth leaves. They’re easier to clean and are commonly found in the frozen section of your grocery store. 

Characteristics of a Healthy Spinach Plant 

Spinach tends to grow quickly and easily and can be harvested at any stage. Healthy, full-grown spinach plants are a bright, rich green with glossy leaves. They may grow in a whorl close to the ground or standing up but they shouldn’t be wilted. 

Once mature, spinach should be harvested every couple of days. Do not remove more than 30% of the leaves at one time, unless removing the crop entirely, so that it can continue to grow and mature. Select the largest, outermost leaves first, allowing the middle leaves to continue to get larger. 

Certain varieties of spinach grow best in cool weather, so you may notice your spinach beginning to bolt as the weather warms up. This is normal, but also signals to you that the end of your harvest is coming up! Harvest what you can and get ready to plant your next crop. Sometimes you can delay bolting a bit by cutting back the flower stalk.

Popular Spinach Varieties to Grow


America spinach is an excellent variety for spring planting due to its slow-to-bolt traits. It also tolerates heat and drought better than other varieties and produces deep green, richly savoyed leaves on eight inch tall plants. 


Bloomsdale is a classic and reliable variety with dark-green, thickly crinkled leaves. It’s slow bolting, making it great for spring planting, as well as high yielding and frost tolerant.

Noble Giant

A lovely, large plant with its arms spread wide! Get ready for plenty of giant, crumpled leaves when growing Noble Giant. This is a great variety for eating raw because the leaves stay tender even when they’re large.

Winter Giant

These crinkled leaves will be a welcome addition to the winter dinner table. Semi-savoyed, Winter Giant offers high yields and is extremely cold hardy, meaning you’ll be harvesting long after the frost. 

Malabar Red-Stemmed Summer Spinach 

Summer spinach, which is not related to the previously mentioned spinach varieties, is a tropical plant that grows best in heat. They produce leaves that are similar to spinach in many ways, making them a great option for warmer climates or a way for any gardener to have greens all summer long! We recommend trying the Malabar Red Stemmed summer spinach. It’s a reliable variety that grows beautifully on a trellis. Summer spinach can be cooked or eaten raw like you would do with spinach!


Best Practices for Growing Spinach Successfully 

While growing spinach is generally pretty easy, there are some steps you can take to ensure your abundant harvest of leafy greens. Like any crop, spinach has its preferred conditions to grow in. Full sun or partial shade is fine but they will want nitrogen rich soil. Amend your beds with compost before planting and/or fertilize as they grow. 

When seeding spinach, water is incredibly important to ensure good germination rates. Take care to water every day, or even better, twice a day, until your spinach seeds germinate. If spinach is planted too late in the spring or too early in the fall, it may not germinate at all but it has a habit of popping up when the weather cools down again! As your spinach plants are growing, water will still be essential (about one inch of water per week, like most crops) due to their shallow root systems that can dry out quickly. 

Their shallow root system also means that you want to be gentle when weeding. Pulling out weeds around the plants can harm or disturb the roots and because of this it’s a good idea to avoid weeds altogether and mulch your spinach with straw. This will also help the soil to not dry out! 

Spinach plants have their share of pests and diseases. The most common problems tend to be aphids and downy mildew. Aphids are sucking insects that will most often colonize on the stems or crowns of your plants. Keep a close eye on your crop and if you start to notice them, knock them off the stem with a strong stream of water. They tend to have trouble getting back up. Downy mildew is a fungal disease that causes yellow spots on the tops of leaves and recognizable white mildew on the undersides of the plant. The best defense against fungal disease is to ensure your plants are adequately spaced which allows for airflow. 

When to Plant and Harvest Spinach 

Spinach leaves can be harvested at any stage! If growing for baby spinach, you can grow many successions for a continuous harvest and cut it like you would cut and come again lettuce. For mature plants, you can either harvest and eat the whole thing or pick the largest leaves from around the base of each plant and allow the plants to continue to grow and produce. If you see any signs of bolting, harvest the whole plant and eat it immediately! 

Grow Your Spinach Today! 

Whatever type of spinach you grow, you won’t regret it. Sow True Seed’s extensive collection of spinach varieties is sure to have something perfect for your garden. 


Article Written by: Hannah Gibbons

About the Author: Hannah Gibbons, an employee at Sow True Seed since 2020, has nearly a decade of experience in the agricultural industry. Their passion for environmental education and regenerative agriculture has been the cornerstone of their work, aimed at making gardening accessible to all.