Spinach, like rocket, is a really easy vegetable to grow in the garden and a great one for children to get involved. Not only is it a really fast crop to grow in the garden, it also makes for delicious salads right from the garden to the kitchen table. It’s a great crop that children will be able to harvest themselves and if the conditions are right, you will be able to grow it all year round.

Spinach is also highly versatile and can be eaten raw, fresh from the garden. It also has more vitamins than most other vegetables and is high in vitamin A, B & C.

The basics

Baby spinach - growing with children

Sow between: Sowing outdoors: Mid March to Early May

What you will need: Seeds, compost, containers (if growing them in containers)

Where does it grow: Both in the ground and in containers. Allow 4 inches in between each plant to prevent overcrowding.

Likes: Spinach is often best grown in a semi shade position. In full sun, it has a tendency to bolt. This may make is more suitable to containers that can be moved if your garden is predominately in sun. Failing that, plant next some something that will provide shade such as sweetcorn or beans.

Difficulty of growing: Easy – Spinach is incredibly easy to germinate and look after as a crop. Just ensure that the growing conditions are as above.

Growing spinach

Because spinach prefers cooler weather, you are better off sowing in the early spring. This will give you the chance to succession sow which will ensure that you have plenty of spinach to eat over the coming months. Depending on the amount that you are going to want to eat, sowing once every two weeks should be ample to put it onto the table a couple of times a week.

If you are sowing in warmer weather, then you are going to want to make sure that you are able to transfer the spinach to the shade if there are long periods of sun and high heat.

Planting spinach

Firstly, you will need to get the soil ready for planting. Dig over the ground in the spring and add in some good compost or manure to the soil. Ensure that all of the larger stones are removed so that the soil is fine to touch with the hand. Children will love helping out with this.

You will want to sow the seeds 2.5cm deep in the ground and have the plants no closer together than 30cm. This will allow enough space for them to grow. Likewise if you are growing them in a container, you will want to ensure that there is enough space between each of the plant to allow them to grow.

Allow children to use a ruler to measure the planting distance and sowing depth.

Harvesting Spinach

Harvesting spinach in the home garden

Spinach is great because you can literally harvest as much or as little as you need. It is perfectly fine to pick just a few leaves or the whole plant if you are feeding a family. You can harvest the leaves by simply pinching them out from the base of the plant.

It is important to keep an eye on the size of the plant because it can become bitter if the leaves get too big. However, I’m sure that they will be far too delicious to even allow them to get to that stage. By picking the leaves regularly, the plant will produce more delicious leaves to enjoy in your meals.

This is also a great activity for children to do as it will involve no sharp tool, only their hands to pick the crop. Once they know how to do it, the kitchen will have fresh spinach whenever it wants it.


Different varieties of spinach to grow in the garden

Believe it or not, there are many different varieties of spinach that you can grow in the back garden. Some of them are better at producing larger leaves and others baby leaves. The varieties that we have listed below, all have a good resistance to bolting and mildew. Both of these can be frustrating if your crop suffers from it.


Spinach 'Violin' F1 Hybrid

Spinach ‘Violin’ F1 Hybrid

This variety of spinach is extremely versatile. It can be grown as baby leaves or as larger leaves. The Violin F1 Hybrid also shows a good resistance to bolting and can be harvested over a long period from spring through to autumn.

Available through Thompson & Morgan


Spinach 'Amazon' F1 Hybrid

Spinach ‘Amazon’ F1 Hybrid

Suitable for both growing in the ground or in containers, this British variety has a long harvesting period is also has a good resistance to bolting and mildew.

Available through Thompson & Morgan


Spinach 'Perpetual' (Start-A-Garden™ Range)

Spinach ‘Perpetual’ (Start-A-Garden™ Range)

Hardly ever running into seed, this variety is great for the first time gardener. Ideal for autumn and winter cropping.


Available through Thompson & Morgan


Spinach 'Apollo'

Spinach ‘Apollo’

A variety that is grown for high yields of dark green, thick rounded leaves. Great for growing in containers and has good resistance to both bolting and mildew.

Available through Thompson & Morgan


How can children get involved in the growing of spinach?

Because spinach is such an easy vegetable to grow it is superb to get the little ones involved right from sowing the seeds. It is also suited to small gardens that are growing in containers and those that are growing in raised beds or veg trugs. And when it comes to harvesting your crop, spinach is one of the easiest for them to do.

Check out our other post on showing children plant growth.