Spinach is the perfect plant to grow in your garden because it’s the gift that keeps on giving—one spinach plant can regrow its leaves multiple times when sown and harvested correctly. However, how can you ensure that your plants will continue to reproduce for you? How can you trim your spinach to keep it growing?
You can trim your spinach to keep it growing by cutting the leaves at the stem no more than 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) away from the base of the plant. You can trim one leaf at a time or work in batches. As long as you don’t cut the growing point of the plant, your spinach will grow even after trimming.
This article will explore how to properly trim your spinach to keep it growing after harvesting. It will also provide some information on the best conditions to grow your spinach so that it can be harvested multiple times in one growing season. Lastly, I’ll provide some tips on trimming your spinach to ensure plenty of regrowth throughout the plant’s lifespan.
1. Find the Growing Point of the Spinach
If you’d like to be able to continue harvesting spinach from the same plant in a single growing season, the process to do so is actually quite simple. The most crucial factor to remember when trimming your spinach leaves is that you should be extremely careful not to cut the plant at its growing point.
The growing point of a spinach plant is where the portion of the plant that is located above the ground—namely, the leaves and stems—connect to the roots that are underground. This point is also called the crown of the plant because it is where the plant crowns at the surface of the soil.
Spinach regenerates its leaves from that main growing point. If you accidentally trim into the growing point of the plant, the leaves will be cut off from their source of nutrients and will not be able to grow again after the initial harvest.
As long as you don’t damage this point, the only other reason the plant may not be able to regrow itself is if some sort of fungus or disease takes over it. Otherwise, you shouldn’t run into any issues when trying to regrow your spinach.
2. Push Back the Soil to Trim the Plant
The process of trimming your spinach plant to keep it growing is relatively easy. Once you’re in your garden and ready to harvest your leaves, all you need to do is push back any thick mulch surrounding the top of the spinach plant so that you can clearly see the growing point where the stems meet the roots.
Then, simply use kitchen shears to snip off the number of leaves that you need, ensuring you don’t trim closer than 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) to the growing point.
And that’s the entire process! It really is that easy to trim your spinach while still having it continue to keep growing. However, if you’re serious about keeping your spinach plant healthy and thriving for years to come, there are some tips to keep in mind that might make your job a whole lot easier.
3. Cut Off Individual Spinach Leaves
The only other choice you need to make is how much you’re going to trim off at once. There are two main ways you can trim your spinach plant so it continues to regrow after the initial harvest.
If you don’t think you’ll need more than a few leaves of spinach at a time, you can trim the plant by cutting off individual leaves one by one.
The reason why it’s essential to trim leaf by leaf in this instance is that as soon as the leaves are cut off from their roots, they lose their primary source of energy, and the process of their decay will begin to accelerate.
If you’re not going to use a lot of spinach in a recipe, it’s best to leave the leaves on the plant to continue maturing rather than trimming them off only for them to sit and go to waste.
When you snip off individual spinach leaves, they should regrow from the same stems within approximately a week.
4. Start Trimming the Outer Leaves and Work Inward
If you decide that you’d prefer to take the route of trimming each leaf off one at a time, the best way to go about it is to begin by cutting off the leaves on the outer edge of the plant and working your way inward.
The reason why it’s best to trim your spinach in this manner is that the leaves that are closest to the center of the plant are the youngest, while those on the outside are fully matured.
When you cut off the baby leaves in the center of the plant before cutting off the outer leaves, you risk the fully matured leaves going rotten before you have a chance to enjoy them. Removing the baby leaves before the outer leaves also puts the plant more at risk of going to seed early and bolting, ruining the plant for the remainder of the season.
By trimming the leaves that are finished growing first, you can ensure your plant experiences steady leaf growth, and that you consistently have access to fresh, fully-grown spinach.
5. Cut Off Many Leaves at Once
The other route you can take when trimming your spinach for regrowth is taking off large bunches from each plant all at once. This method is going to work best if you plan to use your spinach as the base of salads, for soups, or in other recipes that require a large quantity.
If you trim your spinach in this manner, you will need to grab all of the stems containing leaves and cut through them all in one go using your kitchen shears or a large kitchen knife.
You have to be incredibly careful when using this method of trimming so that you don’t accidentally cut into the crown of the plant where it meets the soil. If you do so, you’ll damage the growing point, and your plant will not be able to grow another round of spinach.
As long as the growing point is not damaged during the trimming process, your plant should be able to fully regrow itself within two to three weeks. All you will need to do is keep the base of the plant that’s still in the soil freshly watered.
Whether you snip individual spinach leaves off or hack off large amounts of the plant at once, both methods will allow the plant to regenerate new leaves after harvesting, so long as the growing point is not damaged.
6. Harvest a Third of Each Spinach Plant
There are a few tricks you can use when trimming your spinach plants to allow the leaves to grow back multiple times in one season.
This tip may not be an issue for you if you’re only planning on trimming off a few leaves here and there from each individual plant. However, if you’re looking to cut off large portions of spinach, keep in mind that it’s best for the plant if you only cut about a third of the plant’s leaves at one time.
Only cutting off 25-30% of a single plant’s leaves at a time will allow the plant to regrow at a faster rate. When you take a few leaves from the plant at a time, it will be able to start growing new leaves from those stems while the remaining leaves continue to mature.
If you use this method, you will be able to gather fully-grown leaves at a consistent rate. On the other hand, if you chop off all the leaves at once, that single plant may take up to a month to regenerate an entire head of new leaves. And because spinach decays quite quickly once it is removed from its growing point, you’ll be left without spinach for at least a couple of weeks.
7. Plant New Spinach So It is Able to Regrow
As long as it’s planted in the right conditions, spinach is a relatively easy vegetable to maintain that will continue to produce for you again and again.
There are a few measures you can take when planting your spinach that will allow the plant to have a simpler time regenerating.
8. Wait Until the Weather is Cool to Plant Your Spinach
One of the most important things to remember when growing spinach is that it does best when planted in the coolest weather possible without having it freeze. Depending on where you live, this is likely going to be toward the end of summer, so it can grow throughout the months of fall before the first frost comes.
The reason why it’s essential for spinach to mature when the temperature is lower is that if the weather gets too warm, the leaves will likely become pointy.
Bolting occurs when the plant starts to focus on reproduction rather than producing new leaves. Flowers begin to grow, and the plant goes to seed, so the leaves no longer receive the energy they need to grow well.
If you’re trying to regrow your spinach plants, there is really only one time that you should consider cutting below the growing point of the spinach plant, and that is when you notice it starting to bolt.
Once it reaches that point, it will no longer be able to regrow any leaves and could potentially begin to turn bitter if left too long. Trimming the remainder of the leaves off at the growing point will help you save what fresh leaves are left.
When your spinach is planted with plenty of time to mature in cooler weather, it’s much less likely to go to seed and bolt, and you can sometimes get two to three cycles of regrowth out of a single plant.
If you live in an area that doesn’t experience a cool climate during the year, you can plant your spinach in a shaded area to ensure it is not being hit by direct sunlight. Watering the plant during the hottest part of the day will help it grow as well.
9. Sow Your Spinach Plants in Nutrient-Rich Soil
Another way to ensure your spinach plants will be prepped for regrowth is to initially plant them in soil that is full of nutrients. Ensuring your soil is nutrient-rich can be accomplished fairly easily if you mix your soil with natural organic matter like compost or manure.
When the roots of the vegetable are given the opportunity to take in plenty of nitrogen and moisture, the spinach has a much better chance of successfully regrowing.
Spinach plants typically grow very long roots deep into the ground, so tilling the soil and loosening it up will allow the roots to reach down as far as they need to soak in nutrients.
Keeping an eye on the pH balance of the soil and making sure it stays in the range of 6.5-7 will also encourage the plants to grow strong from the start, which will make the regrowth process even easier for them.
Be on the lookout for any of the following:
- Leaves turning yellow or very pale green.
- Leaves turning purple or bronze.
- Leaves wilting and falling off the plant.
- The plants’ growth getting stunted or distorted.
If you notice any of these signs, your spinach plants likely are not getting the proper nutrients they need to ensure regrowth.
10. Measure Where You Place Each Spinach Plant
If your goal is to grow robust and hearty spinach that boasts a continuous growth of leafy greens, you’ll want to ensure your spinach seedlings don’t grow too close together.
As previously mentioned, spinach roots grow deep into the ground and take up a lot of space to ensure the plants get all the nutrients they need. If the seeds are planted too close together, the seedlings will start to crowd each other as they grow up to the surface.
If the plants become overcrowded, they will begin to fight for nutrients in the soil and will not be able to take in all of the energy they need. Their growth will likely be stunted, and they may even begin to bolt early without ever really producing leaves. The same is true of oxygen and water—overcrowding your spinach plants means that none of them will have access to enough of these essential elements to survive.
To ensure that this phenomenon does not happen, check on your spinach seeds as they begin to sprout. If they’re growing less than four inches (10 cm) apart from one another, shift the seedlings over so they have enough space to fully expand their leaves and regrow a few times over.
11. Trim the Spinach Once It is Fully Matured
If your spinach is fully matured and ready to be trimmed, do not put off harvesting it for too long.
When the spinach leaves hit full maturity, they can quickly transition from tasting delicious and fresh to sharp and bitter. Essentially, once the leaves have grown completely, they should be trimmed off within the next two to three days to ensure they taste just right. Doing so will also help the plant to keep growing, providing you with new spinach leaves every few weeks.
12. Avoid Trimming Your Spinach in the Middle of the Day
Trimming your spinach first thing in the morning or later in the evening is actually quite beneficial for both you and the plant. Although this particular tip sounds somewhat strange, it’s an important one to pay attention to if you would like your spinach leaves to be as fresh and green as possible.
As previously mentioned, spinach is a plant that thrives best in cool temperatures, and this rule applies even when the plant is fully matured and ready to be eaten.
The heat has a tendency to put stress on spinach plants, and if you cut the leaves off during the hottest part of the day, the previously fresh vegetables are much more likely to wilt once they have been trimmed.
In order to have the freshest, tastiest spinach available for your meals and to keep your plant strong and continuing to grow, it’s best to do your trimming when it is the coolest outside.
The best way to trim your spinach to keep it growing is to snip the leaves as soon as they’re fully matured and to do so meticulously so as not to accidentally cut the growing point of the plant.
As long as the growing point remains intact and the surrounding conditions are ideal, your spinach plant will continue to produce new leaves for you even after the old ones have been trimmed off. By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh spinach several times within a growing season.