If you’ve been thinking about learning something new or trying to figure out how to get more greens in your diet, we have an idea for you: plant a spinach garden. Before you ask, yes you can grow this beautiful leafy green at end of January. It is actually the perfect time for spinach. Spinach is the pinnacle of health, it’s delicious and versatile in the kitchen, and it’s a fast and easy grower. Plant spinach now and in no time, you’ll be picking fresh spinach leaves from your garden. From seed to plate, the average time is 40-45 days. If you are starting from small plants with healthy root systems, you can begin picking in about 15-20 days. Here are three reasons you should grow spinach right now.
1. It’s the all-time superfood.
(And it was famous for this waaay before Kale.) Your body will love you for growing and eating spinach. One cup of raw spinach contains 27 calories, 0.86 grams of protein, 30 milligrams of calcium, 0.81 grams of iron, 24 milligrams of magnesium, 167 milligrams of potassium, 2,813 micrograms of Vitamin A, and 58 micrograms of folate. It also contains Vitamin K, fiber, phosphorous, and thiamine. And yes, those numbers might seem small, but put it in perspective: One cup of banana — the ‘ultimate’ potassium provider — has a mere 539 milligrams of potassium, compared to the 839 milligrams in a cup of cooked spinach. Also, the 95.2 micrograms of Vitamin C in a cup of spinach is 34% of your daily recommendation. Here are seven of the many health benefits of spinach:
Diabetes Management. An antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, that’s found in spinach, has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes.
Cancer Prevention. Chlorophyll, found in all green vegetables, is highly effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines (things we consume when foods are grilled at high temperatures).
Lowers Blood Pressure. High potassium content ensures you have adequate potassium levels and helps reduce the effects of sodium in the body, therefore lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
Bone Health. Vitamin K is hugely important for good bone health. It acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.
Skin and Hair. Vitamin A is used to produce sebum, which is necessary for hair moisture and the growth of all bodily tissues, including new skin and hair. Vitamin C helps build and maintain collagen, which makes up the very structure of skin and hair.
Superstrength. Think Popeye. Spinach is one of the best sources for magnesium, which is essential for your metabolism, maintaining muscle and nerve function (including your heart), and developing a healthy immune system. Plus, iron helps your body more efficiently use energy, i.e. more energy.
Increases Metabolism. There are these little sacks that contain chlorophyll in spinach called thykaloids, which help curb cravings and hunger. This, combined with the low calorie count of spinach, means spinach is the perfect diet food.
Psst! It’s also incredibly helpful for fetal development. If you’re pregnant or looking to be, chow down. Its folate reduces the risk of cleft palate and spina bifida, and the vitamin A aids in post-delivery recovery.
2. It’s perfect for growing right now.
It’s an extremely hardy crop! Spinach tolerates temperatures as low as the teens and 20s. Frost actually makes it taste more tender when the sugars can concentrate. Our spinach variety is super fast growing, and it’ll yield tons of leaves in only 40-45 days. In truth, heat and long days are detrimental to its growth. It’ll actually be harder to grow if you wait for heat, so you want to get your seeds going as soon as the soil has thawed, or about 6 weeks before any real warmth. If you do wait to grow spinach, don’t worry, our variety is bolt-resistant so your spinach will survive the warmth. Spinach loves the sun but still does well with the shade. Whatever your porch or patio looks like, your spinach will thrive. In fact, it’s so good at tolerating the shade, you can even grow it indoors if you carefully place it near a window.
3. You can pretty much eat it anytime, any way, and with anything.
No exaggeration. Spinach is incredibly versatile — not to mention cheap and easy. When eaten raw, it has a crisp and mild taste. When cooked, its flavor is tender and powerful. Incorporate your spinach into pasta, soups, casseroles, stir-fries, wraps, sautés, sandwiches, omelets, and smoothies. Every meal, every way. Furthermore, you can cook it differently based on your nutritional needs. Sautéing spinach is the most effective way of retaining carotenoid content, and steaming it is the best way to get in your Vitamin C. If you need folate, eat it raw (25% of folate is lost if it’s cooked). Check out our myriad of delicious spinach recipes (we’re a big fan). If you want a good end-of-January gardening experience, grow spinach. It’s low-maintenance, yields big and fast, contains essential nutrients, and is extremely versatile and delicious. You’ll just have fun. Grow spinach now with our MoGrow garden kit, and receive our professional horticultural support (and love) along the way!