The end of fall is the ideal time to start your spinach garden. Spinach is the pinnacle of health, it’s delicious and versatile in the kitchen, and it’s a fast and easy grower—you’ll be harvesting in 40-45 days. Here’s why you should start growing spinach immediately.
Most people assume gardening is a spring pastime. And rightly so—spring is notorious for growth, after all. However, this does not mean that you have to wait for March to roll around to start your Gardenuity garden. Everything we offer you at your location is in season, and you’ll be growing gorgeously if you start now.
That being said, there is one specific vegetable that hits its planting peak right now. Fall gardener, let us introduce you to the infamous superfood and frost lover, Renegade Spinach.
Although it can also grow successfully in the spring, spinach is primarily a fall plant. It tolerates temperatures as low as the teens and 20s. In truth, heat and long days are detrimental to its growth—it’ll actually be harder to grow if you wait for spring. Our spinach variety is super fast-growing, and it’ll yield many leaves, especially in this mild fall weather.
Basically, growing spinach is the perfect fall pastime, and if you’ve been delaying gardening, it’s time to take action. Plant your spinach now, give it 40-45 days, and you’ll be picking fresh spinach leaves from your garden soon.
Besides the fact that growing Spinach with us is unbelievably simple (you literally just follow our easy planting instructions and harvest when the leaves are large enough to eat), there are three major reasons you should be growing and eating spinach.
Reasons to love Spinach
1. It’s the all-time superfood. And it was famous way before the Kale trend.
Yes, kale and green smoothies are amazing for you. We love them, too. But remember Popeye the sailor man back in the ’30s? Sure, the instant muscle bulging is a little dramatic, but he was definitely onto something. We’ve rejected most of the food trends from the 30s (*ahem, Twinkies), but spinach is a long-lasting health source. It’s the original superfood, and nothing’s been able to dethrone it yet.
One cup of raw spinach contains a mere 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, phosphorus, and thiamine.
And yes, those numbers might seem small, but this should put it in perspective: One cup of banana—the ultimate potassium provider—has a mere 539 milligrams of potassium, compared to the 839 milligrams a cup of cooked spinach has. And the 95.2 micrograms of Vitamin C in a cup of spinach is 34% of your daily recommendation.
Because not everyone is pregnant or wants to be, we won’t technically make this part of the ten health boons. But, spinach is also really helpful for fetal development. The folate in it reduces the risk of cleft palate and spina bifida. Additionally, vitamin A is really important for post-delivery mothers and children. When a new mother eats spinach, she absorbs the vitamin, and it can be transferred to the child through breastfeeding.
It’s hard to imagine there are more health boons of spinach, but there actually are. These are only a portion! It truly is the original and greatest superfood, and you’ll definitely be healthier because you grew it.
2. Everyone has always known it, everyone knows it now, and everyone will always know it.
We call it spinach now, but it’s had lots of names over time. Spinacia Olerecea is the scientific term for the green variety of spinach, which was very first cultivated in Persia thousands of years ago. It’s still called “Persian greens” in China.
When trade began in the Middle East and Asia, spinach’s fame started spreading. Soon, western Europe had it. Around the 11th century, the Moors introduced it to Spain, who then introduced it to the rest of Europe. For this reason, the English called it “the Spanish vegetable” for many many years. In fact, “spinach” is meant to be the shortened version of that full name.
But, wait—there are more names. Ever heard of eggs florentine? In Italy in the 16th century, Catherine de Medici allegedly introduced spinach to King Henry II and the court of France. Then, as one does, she decreed that any dish containing spinach should be called Florentine in honor of her Italian heritage.
Fast forward to the 1930s. Popeye the Sailor Man comes on the scene. Now, in the U.S. spinach is arguably the most popular vegetable of all time, rivaled by carrots only. The average American adult consumed a whopping total of 1.7 pounds of spinach in 2014.
There are three types of green spinach: savoy, semi-savoy, and flat-leafed. It’s really easy to remember because the flat-leafed variety is non-crinkled and flat, semi-savoy is semi-crinkled and semi-curly, and savoy is crinkled and curly.
In a surprising twist, spinach does not belong to the main family of green leafy vegetables, although it certainly resembles them. It’s technically a chenopod, and its siblings are that of quinoa and amaranth. Which is super cool.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t see spinach’s fame going anywhere anytime soon. If you doubt us, check out some of the recipes we’ve come up with. We think you’ll hop on board. Which leads us to…
3) You can pretty much eat it anytime, anyway, and with anything.
We’re not kidding. Spinach is incredibly versatile. Not to mention, cheap and easy. When eaten raw, it has a crisp and mild taste. When cooked, it’s tender and powerfully flavorful. Incorporate your spinach into pasta, soups, casseroles, stir-fries, wraps, sautés, sandwiches, omelets, and smoothies. Enjoy it as a side or salad or dip. Most things work.
Generally speaking, spinach is more flavorful and sweet when cooked. And this divine flavor is enhanced further by adding nutmeg, fresh garlic, or mustard to the dish.
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 your Vitamin C in. If you need folate, eat it raw (25% of folate is lost if it’s cooked).
In fact, spinach provides so many nutrients it has been linked to numerous health benefits. Below are 10 Health Benefits of Spinach.
10 Health Benefits of Spinach
The nutrients in spinach perform some pretty miraculous actions. Here are 10 major health boons of spinach.
1) Diabetes Management.
Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes.
2) Cancer Prevention.
Chlorophyll, found in all green vegetables, is highly effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, which we consume when foods are grilled at high temperatures.
3) Asthma Prevention.
Beta-carotene, also present in broccoli, pumpkin, and carrots, helps lower the risk of developing asthma.
4) Lowers Blood Pressure.
Spinach’s high potassium content ensures you have adequate potassium levels and helps reduce the effects of sodium in the body—both risk factors for developing high blood pressure.
5) Bone Health.
The vitamin K in spinach, however small an amount, 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.
6) Promotes Regular Bowel Movement.
Spinach is high in fiber and water, both of which prevent constipation and ensure you have a healthy digestive tract.
7) Skin and Hair.
The vitamin A in spinach is used to produce sebum, which is necessary for hair moisture and the growth of all bodily tissues, including new skin and hair. Plus, the vitamin C in spinach is absolutely needed to build and maintain collagen, which makes up the very structure of skin and hair.
8) Popeye’s Strength, but real.
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, the iron in spinach helps your body more efficiently use energy and therefore elongates your energy stores.
9) Eye Health.
Macular degeneration, or AMD, is responsible for causing blindness. Two vital pigments, known as lutein and xanthene, degenerate, and thus so does vision. Believe it or not, eating spinach actually helps you regain those pigments, and prevents AMD.
10) Increases Metabolism.
There are these little sacks that contain chlorophyll in spinach called thylakoids, and they are hugely effective at curbing cravings and hunger. This, combined with the low-calorie count of spinach, essentially means spinach is the perfect diet food.
Check out these 25 Spinach Recipes for Every Meal for inspiration! (We told you the options were endless.) Our favorites are the New Spinach Salad (#2), the Spanakopita (#16), and the Creamy Spinach and Sweet-Onion Dip with Crudites (#23).
Honestly and truly, spinach is one of the best vegetables you can begin growing with. It’s a low-maintenance grower, and big and fast yielder, an essential superfood, an all-time celebrity, and a delicious and versatile ingredient. You’ll just have fun doing it.
The best part is that you don’t have to wait one more second.