19. March 2021

How to Grow Spinach in Cold Soil

I wonder when the spinach I sowed in February will germinate this year? I'm going to be a bit cocky and guess that it's happening in the coming days. Learn more about growing spinach in cold soil below!

Growing spinach in cold soil, a kitchen garden with a red house.

I decided to sow lots of spinach right when the snow started to melt in the middle bed. But as you can see, there's still some snow left in other parts of my garden. Read everything you need to know about growing spinach in cold soil below!


Dear garden friends. Here we go again. It's time for my yearly reminder: Don't forget about the spinach! Think it's too soon to get started? Think again!

Spinach is one of those amazing leafy greens that you can sow all through winter and early spring. It doesn't matter if the soil is still cold. You can just sow the seeds on top of the frozen ground and cover them with new, thawed soil from a bag. Or, just scratch them down into the upper layer. There are actually a lot of pros to growing spinach in cold soil too.


Read more: How to grow baby spinach at home


I did my big winter/early spring sowing of spinach in a large bed in the middle of my kitchen garden. This area is usually reserved for at least one big spinach sowing. The snow is basically all gone now and most of the soil has thawed. So, I started by evening out the ground with a rake and scattered the seeds on top. Then I added the row cover. It protects the seeds from curious animals and also helps raise the soil temperature just a little.

You can use any kind of spinach for this type of project. Anything goes! I decided to go for the variety Monnopa since we happened to have it in our local store.


Growing spinach in cold soil with a row cover on top of the bed.

This bed is around 13 ft (4 meters) long and slightly raised. I decided not to mulch it since I wanted to sow in it in early spring.


Germinates in Cold Soil

Spinach is just simply amazing! The seeds germinate at 39 degrees (4 degrees Celsius.) If you try to grow spinach indoors in winter, it rarely does well and the plants grow weak and leggy. But if you do it outside, then I can guarantee that almost all of the seeds will germinate. And the plants get big, bushy and very cold-hardy too. You can see pictures of the spinach I decided to sow in my red growing box in mid-December below. We've had quite cold temperatures with plenty of snow since, but as soon as the snow started to melt, the little spinach plants appeared.

I think that the plants would do just fine through a sudden cold spell too. If not, then I can always just add a row cover on top.


More: Grow New Zealand spinach


The coming days are supposed to be warm, with around 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius) during the day and 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius) at night. The row cover helps keep the bed at around 59 degrees (15 degrees Celsius) during the day. My guess is that it won't take long before the seeds germinate. I can usually start harvesting the first small leaves already in early April. If everything goes to plan, then I'm counting on getting around 4,5-6,5 pounds (2-3 kilos) of spinach before the plants are worn out in May. This is why you should grow spinach in cold soil too!


Close-up of a row cover.

I keep the row cover in place with rocks placed around the edges. Water can trickle through, but it also increases the soil temperature slightly. Row cover is a great tool to use if you want to try to grow spinach in cold soil.


Row cover on top of the spinach in cold soil. Green plants underneath.

I used to grow poppy in this bed before. Unfortunately, the slugs ate both the ragged lady and the cornflower that I grew here with the poppy.


To do-list

  • get new spinach seeds
  • pick a bed/raised bed in a warm area of your garden
  • use buried compost as a fertilizer before you start
  • even out the surface with a rake or your hand
  • add the seeds on top
  • scratch a little soil on top of the seeds and flatten
  • use a row cover or a lid on top


This enthusiastic post about growing spinach in cold soil is mainly for anyone out there who hasn't tried it before. I know I'm just preaching for the choir for the rest of you! It can of course be tricky if you have 3 ft of snow on the ground. Watch the video to get valuable tips on how to grow spinach in cold soil, no matter the circumstances:



More: Q&A about Sowing Seeds in Early Spring


Keep your eyes open for the follow-up of this post about growing spinach in cold soil. And let's hope that the slugs stay dormant a while longer. I had so many issues with them last year and I would hate it if they got to my spinach before I had time to harvest at least some of the leaves. I hope you give this method a try. Trust me, it works!
/Sara Bäckmo

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