Spinach is a fantastic crop to grow at home whether or not it is done hydroponically. But if grown in a hydroponic system, it is recommended to beginners as the best plant to learn the craft because it’s fast-growing, lightweight, and nutritious.
And as everyone wants to be able to eat from their own garden, you can grow enough spinach, even in a small space, for your family’s needs. While many might refer back to spinach’s best spokesperson, Popeye, we’re also fans of spinach. Here’s why!
Spinach Is A Great Homegrown Crop
Spinach is part of the Chenopodiaceae subfamily, which sits in Amaranthaceae's flowering plant family. Beets, chard, and quinoa are all part of this family. But arguably, spinach is the crop you want to grow in your hydroponic system.
This leafy green contains all the vitamins and minerals you need. These include iron, vitamins K, A, C, and folate. Also jammed inside are vitamin B2, magnesium, and manganese. All this is crammed into one high-quality veggie.
In 2020, the world production of spinach was 31 million tonnes. China alone produced 92% of this crop. While it is lovely to see that the world is embracing the production of spinach, the fact that it needs to be transported over such distances isn’t reassuring.
Spinach loses a lot of its nutritional value if it isn’t cooked immediately, and to extend its life, is often packaged with nitrogen gas.
Bearing this in mind, there’s no reason to subject yourself to subpar spinach from the other side of the globe when you can easily grow it in a hydroponic system at home.
Now, let’s talk about the perfect growing conditions for spinach.
Perfect Growing Conditions For Hydroponic Spinach
Spinach loves to grow in conditions that are not too warm or cold.
Too hot, and they will bolt or produce flowers and seeds. When the plant does bolt, it becomes bitter and inedible.
It’s best sown in the early days of spring because frost will also damage the crop. This means growing spinach outdoors gives you only a small window of opportunity. Basically, spinach can only be grown during spring and fall.
From germination to harvest, the plant takes around eight weeks. When sowing the seeds, it is in your best interest to take a temperature reading of the soil. The optimum soil germination temperature is between 45⁰F to 68⁰F.
For atmosphere temperature, you want to avoid anything above 75⁰F, with the best range being between 65⁰F to 70⁰F. Seedlings can tolerate low temperatures around 15⁰F to 20⁰F.
If temperatures do reach 80⁰F, spinach will bolt. And if the temperatures drop quickly, this can also cause the spinach to bolt.
Spinach will require regular watering and fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. There’s also no need for trimming back.
As with all domesticated crops, there are a number of varieties to choose from at the garden center. These include:
This variety is great for containers and is heat-tolerant as well as resistant to mildew. The leaves are tender and petite in size.
With curly and crinkled dark-green leaves, this variety is best grown in fall and is tolerant to mosaic viruses.
Defined by its slightly crinkled leaves, it is resistant to a number of viruses and mildews. It can also be grown during spring, summer, or even fall.
Smooth or Flat Leaf
As the name indicates, this variety is known for its spade-shaped leaves. Some of these are even bolt-resistant.
Now that we know what the perfect growing conditions are let’s talk about the conditions your hydroponics setup needs to meet.
Hydroponic Needs For Spinach
Spinach is a great crop to grow hydroponically. Also, no system is head and shoulders above any other, as the roots of the plant are very shallow and will flourish in most setups.
Whether you’re using an ebb and flow system, nutrient film technique (NFT), or deep water culture (DWC), spinach will do well.
The growing medium can be any of the usual suspects, but make sure that they don’t damage the roots, which are easily damaged. These potting mediums include lightweight expanded clay aggregate (LECA), Rockwool, and coco coir.
Also, the potting medium needs to be able to retain enough water as spinach wants moist roots.
As for light requirements, your spinach will need light for around 10-12 hours daily to reach its full potential. While you can use traditional high-wattage grow lights, electrical bills and heat are two main issues you want to be aware of.
Rather switch to using a full-spectrum LED grow light instead. They are cheaper to run and don’t give off heat. Maintaining the temperature around 757F is key to harvesting a large crop. Check out our top recommendations here: Best Hydroponic LED Grow Light
When starting your crop in the hydroponic system, it will require little nutrients, and fertilizer that is not too high in nitrogen, as this can burn their leaves. The nutrients spinach mainly needs are calcium and magnesium.
Also, you should lower the amounts of nutrients you are feeding from about two weeks before harvesting, as the strength of your fertilizer can cause the plant to retain some bitterness.
From seed to harvest, your system could potentially produce spinach that’s ready to eat within 52 days. This is lightning quick in the agricultural world.
When honed in, your system could potentially feed a family all year around, which isn’t always possible with some crops.
There’s never been a better time to grow your own spinach.
Growing Spinach Hydroponically is a Must!
With consumerism forcing crops to be packaged far away and sent long distances into urban hubs, spinach is a crop you can simply grow in a kitchen.
Spinach is an easy crop to grow when you control the temperature, and with a hydroponic system, it should be plug-and-play for an organic crop that doesn’t need to be trucked in.
So, get started with the hydroponic crop that will feed your family.