Fall Spinach: Why It’s the Most Amazing Vegetable to Grow

harvesting fall spinach

Did you know that spinach is a gateway vegetable?

Well, at least according to me. Fall spinach is the vegetable that first got me hooked on cold weather gardening.

The first season I planted it for fall growing I got lots of big, delicious harvests throughout September, October, and November. I was pretty pleased.

Then it got cold over the winter (okay, that’s an understatement, I do live in Wisconsin) and the spinach was covered in snow and I forgot all about it.

Then, in spring, when the ground started to thaw and the sun returned and started getting me in the gardening mood, I went out to my garden to do a little clean up. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only was the fall spinach from the previous year still alive, it was actually growing again.

It totally blew my mind.

I had no idea a vegetable in my garden could survive the harsh winter of Wisconsin (something I can barely manage to do myself!).

Thus began my love affair with the toughest vegetable I know – fall spinach.

This is a very different vegetable than the persnickety one known as spring spinach. That plant can barely produce more than one harvest during the spring months before going to seed. It’s barely worth planting.

But, fall planted spinach, be still my heart! One planting can provide as many as 8 months worth of spinach harvests. Take that, you delicate spring planted spinach.

Let me use some photos from my garden to illustrate why you, too, should fall in love with fall spinach.

FALL SPINACH: WHY IT’S THE MOST AMAZING VEGETABLE TO GROW

 

fall planted spinach germinating

August 22: One of the beds of fall spinach I planted is germinating nicely!

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fall spinach growing in garden

September 14: I’ve already begun harvesting fresh salads for dinner from this bed.

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harvesting fall spinach from garden bed

October 31: I’m still harvesting from my fall plantings. Sometimes I have more than I can use, so I pack it raw into freezer bags to use in my morning smoothies during winter.

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fall spinach and other vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner

November 21: The impressive harvest from my fall garden to take to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course we have to serve a spinach salad!

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fall spinach in the snow

December 8: It’s starting to get cold here in Wisconsin, so my spinach is freezing at night, but if the temps get above 32 degrees F and the leaves defrost I can harvest it for a salad that night.

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Mid-December – March: Where I live plant growth stops during this time and my spinach is often frozen, so in the past I stopped harvesting it during this time. But, last year I discovered some season extension tricks that allowed me to start harvesting it again in February. (I share them in this class.)

March 24 (of the next year!): By this time the spinach has started to grow again and I’ve likely harvested from it a few times. This particular year we got a late snow storm that covered the spinach, but it was fine. The snow defrosted quickly and I resumed my harvesting schedule.

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fall planted spinach ready for harvesting

April 20: That same snow-covered bed from the previous photos is growing quickly now that it’s warming up. I’m starting to have more spinach than I can eat. It’s time to put some bags together for the neighbors!

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Fall spinach harvested in a basket

May 12: I’m still harvesting from last August’s planting. That’s over 8 months of spinach harvests from the same garden bed. Every year I’m giddy with amazement that this really works!

Sometime in May the spinach starts to bolt due to the increasing daylight and warm spring temperatures. I also seed some new spinach in April, but honestly, it just doesn’t compare. It also bolts by June, and at that point I’ve only harvested from it two or three times.

That’s the story of one little spinach planting! Have I convinced you why fall planted spinach is the best vegetable ever? Whew. I’m glad. That means you’re going to get out there and plant some this season, right?

I help you figure out when is the best time to plant spinach (and 26 other vegetables) in your area and which varieties I’ve discovered perform best in the fall and winter in my online class, Extend the Harvest: Plant a Fall Garden. Check out all the details and join us here.

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Read more about how to have an awesome fall garden:

8 Easy Vegetables to Grow in Your Fall Garden

How to Eat Beets From Your Garden All Year Round

Why Growing a Fall Garden Is So Easy

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