Growing spinach beet in the middle of winter here in London is simple! Fresh handfuls of sweet greens are so welcoming at the dinner table or for a quick salad. I have grown these all year round and love how versatile these greens are. So from my experience, here are some tips for you.
Tips for Growing Spinach Beet in Winter
- Firstly it needs to be started in the warmer months of summer. Not the first thing you would think of when you are enjoying ripe tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers. However, seeds sown in mid-summer will be well appreciated in the cold winter months when there is little to harvest fresh outdoors.
- Secondly, I grow spinach beet which is also known as perpetual spinach. It is not a true spinach but it tastes very similar and more robust when you are growing it compared to regular spinach. Spinach beet is also less likely to go to seed in warmer weather and will happily grow in a sunny spot outdoors over winter.
- Raised beds in small gardens and planters on a patio or sheltered outdoor space are ideal to grow spinach beet in winter. I have found that you do not need any additional cover even in the snow. This may be different for a larger plot where you are growing in the ground in an open space where protection may be needed like a cloche during the cold winter months..
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Sowing Seeds this Summer
Spinach beet is easy to grow from seeds. These are seeds I have used for the past three years as I have found them very reliable.
I also love to grow spinach beet seeds where the peas and broad beans have been growing. Peas and broad beans are grown earlier in spring and I find that by midsummer, these plants have finished producing.
If you are starting out, then a planter or raised bed filled with fresh compost is a great idea for growing spinach beet in the winter. I have given more helpful suggestions for small gardens in my Start your Garden post.
Seed Sowing and Seedlings
- Level the compost and water it well before sowing 2 seeds every 15 cm. Sow them 2.5 cm deep and cover.
- These seedlings usually pop up within a week, as the weather is warm in summer. Keep them well watered.
- Since you have sown 2 seeds together, you can nip out the weaker seedling once they have about 4 leaves. You can also gently lift one out and transplant them if they are both looking strong.
- Keep the compost moist and they should soon take off.
Harvesting Spinach Beet Leaves
You can start harvesting once the plants are about 15 cm in length. When you first start, take only an older leaf or two from each plant, leaving the younger leaves to keep growing. In this way, the same plants will give you plenty of harvests over the coming months.
Spinach beet is delicious in salads but it is also great to cook with. Spinach falafels are a favourite in my family and definitely worth a try.
So I hope this has encouraged you to start growing these fantastic greens in your outdoor space, no matter how small!