FoodProduction101

How to plant spinach and arugula

April 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Leafy Greens

Tuesday 4-3-2012

What are spinach and arugula?

Spinach and arugula are leafy greens typically used fresh in salads. Spinach is very rich in vitamins and minerals. Arugula, also known as “rocket” tends to have a nutty, almost spicy flavor. The young leaves are great for a salad with a sweeter dressing.

 

Spinach                                                                                                                Arugula

 

Tools needed?

Pointed hoe

 

Timing?

You can plant arugula and spinach as soon as the soil is warm enough to dig, and the chance of a hard frost has passed. Very early spring is good timing. They like cool weather, so you can also plant them in late summer for a fall crop as well.

 

Soil type?

Loves compost, and will grow better in clay than sand.

 

Companions for spinach and arugula?

Peas and beans are a good companion that can provide the shade that spinach and arugula need in the summer.

 

Depth?

Arugula seed is a small sized seed that requires a depth of 1/4 inch. Spinach seed is a slightly bigger seed requiring a ½ inch depth.

 

Arugula seed                                                                                     Spinach seed

 

Spacing?

I put both arugula and spinach about an inch apart. Most people then recommend thinning them out to about 6” apart once they come up. This is absolutely fine to do. I prefer to thin to maybe 2-3” apart and just eat the young leaves as they come up to make enough space for the others to reach maturity.    

 

How to plant the seed?

1. I mulch my garden, so I first take the side of my pointed hoe and gently pull the mulch away from the area I am going to plant.

 

2. I make a ½ inch trench along my irrigation line with my pointed hoe for spinach, or a very shallow ¼ inch deep trench for the arugula.

 

Arugula depth                                                                                   Spinach depth

 

3. I drop the seed in the trench 1 inch apart for both leafy greens, by taking a small pile of seed in my left hand, then taking a pinch of seed from the pile in my right hand. I then roll the seed between my thumb and index finger as I move my hand along my trench dropping seed in as I go. You will not get perfect spacing this way, and you will waste some seed, but it is a lot quicker than trying to plant each seed one at a time.

 

4. I gently rake only the soil back over the trench with the side of my pointed hoe.

 

5. I lightly tamp the area with the back of the pointed hoe to connect the seed to the soil.

 

6. I push a light amount of mulch to suppress the weeds over the spinach with the side of my pointed hoe. I also push the mulch very near where I planted the arugula, but I will wait for the arugula to get some height before putting the rest of the mulch back.

 

7. Water your seeds in. Make sure to keep the soil moist until germination.

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