Spinach is a leafy green vegetable consumed worldwide and an ingredient in many dishes. In India and worldwide, spinach is one of the few vegetables added to almost all main courses. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavour of spinach makes it a versatile vegetable for salads, soups, curries, and pies.
With a crop that is in demand almost throughout the year, it can fetch a good price, but farmers all over the world cultivate it, too. Therefore, It is priced evenly throughout the year except for some short periods where demand is extremely high, and production is low for some reason. This does happen once a year or once in a few years. In 2020, the U.S. season-average farm price for fresh spinach was $60.70 per hundredweight. During these periods, the farmers who had produced made a huge profit in the market. But this is not a common scenario, and most often, the ones who profit are those who are into the business of processing and marketing.
The chances of profiting from spinach cultivation are very high with the right temperature, weather conditions, soil, irrigation, and fertilizers. Chances of losses are low due to various factors, including the fact that spinach can be harvested multiple times and has a high nutritional value. Farmers almost always go on a profit when it comes to spinach cultivation, and it is a sure crop to make a profit.
Some facts about Growing Spinach
Spinach can be grown from full sun to partial shade either in the home garden or outdoor gardens. Spinach requires good fertilizers and nutrients as it is a heavy feeder. 4-1-2 ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (n-p-k) are good enough to grow healthy spinach leaves. Usually, spinach is germinated from seeds and even can be grown from cuttings.
Climate for Cultivation
Spinach grows at moderate to cool temperatures. When the plants are in the growing stage, it requires a temperature of 15-30 degrees for vegetative growth and a temperature of 10-20 degrees during the harvest. If the weather is below 10 degrees, the plants will not grow well, and frost might end up damaging them. If the temperature goes above 30 degrees, there is a lot of stress, and plants tend to bolt or produce seeds rather than leaves. Chances of diseases are also high with higher temperatures, often affecting yield.
Ideal Soil for Cultivation
Experts often recommend loamy soil with high organic matter for spinach cultivation. The soil should be loose and easy to penetrate. You can use a tiller mounted on your Swaraj 843 XM to finish the job. Waterlogging is an issue, and acidic soil is another. Adding cow manure, compost, and organic waste to the soil during the first soil preparation could result in better soil conditions for spinach cultivation. The ideal soil pH range is 6 to 7.
Varieties of Spinach
There are over 25 varieties of spinach in India, and they differ from region to region and also vary on season. The spring-cultivated spinach types are not the same varieties you can get during fall. The variety also has a wider difference in yield and results. Some varieties are tolerant to certain diseases, while others are more inclined to do better for a particular region.
It produces large, green, thick, tender, succulent and crisp leaves of good taste. Plants are vigorous, quick-growing and regenerate quickly after each cutting. It gives 6 to 8 cuttings and yields over 200 to 400 quintals per hectare. It performs well in this region.
Pusa All green
It produces uniformly green tender leaves and gives about 6 cuttings depending upon the time of sowing and management. It is a heavy yielder giving a leaf yield of 125 quintals per ha.
It produces dark green leaves with purple pigmentation on the stem. It is resistant to downy mildew and gives about 5 cuttings with a yield potential of 100 quintals per ha.
It produces light green leaves with long petioles. It is suitable for summer cultivation and gives about 4 cuttings with a yield potential of 80 quintals per ha.
It produces semi-erect plants with dark shiny leaves. It has low oxalic acid content and gives about 7 cuttings with a yield potential of 125 quintals per acre.
Punjab Selection: It produces light green leaves with a slightly sour taste and purple pigmentation on the stem. It gives about 6 cuttings with a yield potential of 100 quintals per acre.
Planting happens 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in spring or 6-8 weeks before the first frost date in fall. Ideally, farmers should sow spinach seeds 1/2 inch in depth and 2 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. The seeds will germinate best in a soil temperature of 10-28 degrees. Planting delay may cause bolting or flowering of spinach and lower yields. It is always essential to keep track of planting. Spinach can also grow from cuttings or in containers at home.
Harvesting occurs when the leaves are 3-4 inches long and tender. Once they are ready, farmers start the harvest by cutting off the outer leaves from the base of the plant. This will encourage more growth and multiple harvests. Farmers usually harvest the spinach every 10-14 days, depending on the growth rate and weather conditions. Regular irrigation is ideal for keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Spinach harvested in this manner is highly nutritional, and you can consume it either raw or cooked.
The yield of spinach depends on variety and season. High-yield varieties yield approximately 125 quintals per acre in 45 days, while some varieties can yield 20-30 quintals per acre, which is nominal but still highly profitable. Additionally, you can use mechanical methods to increase your yield. Invest in a Sonalika GT 20 Rx to improve your yield and decrease the workload. Spinach is a cool-season crop that grows throughout the year in temperate regions and can somewhat tolerate frost. Spinach is a versatile vegetable that has a lot of uses in many dishes and has many health benefits.