Spinach is an ideal vegetable for growing on balconies because it works incredibly well in pots. Better still, it’s easy to care for and can provide crops for the whole growing season.
So, let’s go over how to grow spinach on a balcony.
Spinach is a cool-weather crop and does best in USDA Zones 5-10. If you plan to grow it in warmer climates, make sure it’s in full shade and that you pick the leaves while they’re young.
It’s best grown from seed directly in the container you’re growing it in. Spinach seedlings are very fragile, so they don’t transplant well. As such, it’s also not advisable to buy young plants from gardening stores.
Sunlight: Partial or full shade
Grow in pots: Yes – railing planters or rectangular planters of any size
Grow indoors: Yes
Soil type: Well-draining
When to plant: February onwards
It’s best to plant spinach successionally, meaning in batches a few weeks apart. This ensures your plants aren’t all ready at the same time, giving you results for the whole season.
For this, you’ll need:
1. Fill your container with soil to about an inch from the top. You’ll get several spinach plants in each, unless you’re growing in small containers.
2. Sow your spinach seeds 4-5 inches apart. To do so, poke a small hole with a pencil and drop in a few seeds.
3. Water well and wait for the seeds to germinate. This should take 2 weeks or so.
4. Repeat step 3 every 3-4 weeks between February and October for a good supply.
5. Once the seedlings have their first set of proper leaves, pinch out the weakest looking ones from each hole.
6. You can begin harvesting 6-10 weeks after planting.
If growing indoors, sow seeds in individual pots (3-4 inches in diameter) and grow them on a sunny windowsill.
The most important thing for spinach is keeping it well watered. During the hottest months, make sure the plants have plenty of shade, and that you’re watering once a day or so. The soil should be kept moist but not wet.
Although it’s not a massive problem on a balcony, you’ll want to protect your spinach plants from slugs and snails. The easiest way to do this is by raising the pots off the ground on legs (or hung from your railing).
Also, spinach works well as a space filler in other pots. For example, if you’re growing something like corn or watermelon, sow some spinach seeds into the soil to fill in the gaps.
Spinach is a great crop because it’s packed with nutrients and is easy to grow. The only downside, though, is that you need loads of it because the leaves wilt down to nothing when cooked. To get around this, freeze the leaves as you pick them until you’ve got enough to eat.