Spinach is a common ingredient in different meals. Its constant use makes it economical and healthy to grow in your garden rather than buy from stores. Buying from stores also limits the varieties you can try as you can only get the popular types.
There are several different spinach types with distinct flavors and shapes. We are used to using the same spinach type for all our cooking needs including in smoothies. Using the same spinach throughout your cooking still gives delicious tastes. Imagine the even better taste you’ll get when you use the type best suited for smoothies, stir-fries, and meals.
Spinach is easy to grow vegetables that can thrive in different growing conditions. They can grow up to 30 cm, producing leaves as long as 20 cm. Their size makes it possible to grow them in containers or even in raised garden beds.
Growing different varieties allows you to have a longer growing season as the different spinach types all have varying growing periods. Here’s a complete guide to growing and caring for spinach plants.
Classification of Spinach
Generally, Spinach classification lies under three main categories. Most spinach varieties fall into one of these three classes.
- Savoy Spinach: this is a cold-hardy class of spinach. It is the most basic form, and it is botanically classified as Spinacia oleracea. Their dark green leaves are highly wrinkled and have a crispy texture. The savoy spinach can be used in place of kale due to its flavor. Another strong pull of the savoy spinach class is that it can be cooked for hours without losing is texture.
- Semi-Savoy Spinach: this is similar to savoy spinach in taste and flavor, but its leaves are less wrinkled. This class is bolt and disease resistant, which makes them a favorite choice among gardeners.
- Smooth-Leaf Spinach: as the name implies, the leaves of spinach in this class are smooth without wrinkles, which makes washing them easy. Its leaves are broad and flat, and they are fast-growing, this makes them the number one choice for gardeners. Their fast-growing nature means they can be stored for longer.
Types of Spinach Plant
Now that we have seen the different spinach classes let’s look at the spinach types you can grow.
1. Bloomsdale Longstanding
This heirloom variety of the savoy spinach class is large growing spinach with wrinkled leaves. This slow bolting spinach has a nutty flavor and is a market variety because of its large leaf size. It can spread up to 4 inches while growing as high as 12 inches.
You can plant either in fall or spring, under full sun or partial shade. Bloomsdale spinach takes between 40 and 48 days to mature. It needs a fair amount of water during its growing season (about 1 inch of water per week).
2. Regiment Spinach
This is another savoy spinach plant with dark green crinkled leaves. Its leaves are large and tender and can be eaten raw. At 37 days, it takes less time to mature than bloomsdale.
Its delicate nature means cooking slightly, and using it in salads brings out its delicious flavor. This hybrid variety has a moderate disease and bolt resistance.
3. Carmel Spinach
Carmel spinach is a hybrid variety in the semi-savoy class. This fast-growing plant takes just 25 days to grow baby leaves, but you may need to wait five weeks to harvest mature leaves. Be careful, though, as this plant is fast to bolt. Leaving it too long after maturity will cause bolting and turn its delicious flavor bitter.
Their tasty nature makes them an ideal salad plant.
4. Indian Summer
This three-season spinach can be grown in spring, summer, and fall. It is a semi-savoy plant with dark green crisp leaves that can grow up to 12 inches long. It’s easy to grow nature that’ll endear you to this plant, especially if you’re usually busy.
It grows best in colder seasons of fall and spring and takes just 35 to 40 days to produce matured leaves. Factors like the soil PH level and sun need to be monitored carefully, especially during the sowing season.
5. Tyee Spinach
Tyee is an F1 hybrid variety in the semi-savoy class that takes 45 days to mature. It has vigorous upright growth and is resistant to bolting and Downy mildew.
Its dark green partially crinkled leaves contain distinct flavors that can spice up your meals. If you want to make the most delicious vegetable salads, please include the tyee spinach. In mild winter areas, it can be grown all year round.
6. Teton Spinach
If you’re looking for a spinach type you can freeze, the Teton variety is the type for you. It also makes an excellent choice to be cooked or used in salads. It has a mild flavor.
It is resistant to Downy mildew and is slow to bolt. Teton takes between 45 and 50 days to mature. This tender plant is best suited to colder winter months.
Catalina is an F1 hybrid variety in the semi-savoy class that takes about 48 days to mature. Its spear-shaped leaves are thick and succulent at the same time. It is also slow-bolting.
This spinach type is heat-resistant but needs to plant during cold months of fall and spring. Their light green leaves can withstand light frost and summer months under partial shade. They are considered superior to other semi-savoy spinach varieties because of their smooth leaves.
8. Space Spinach
Space spinach is in the smooth-leaf class. It has spoon-shaped green leaves that are almost smooth. This variety stays clean because its leaves are held up from the ground—plant space spinach to harvest during fall and summer for optimum results. Irrigation can help to keep it fresh during the summer.
It takes about 45 days to mature. This hybrid variety boasts resistance to most of the Downy mildew races and Cladosporium leaf spot.
9. Red Cardinal Spinach
Its smooth green leaves quickly put it in the smooth-leaf class. It is also cool-season spinach. The plant is tender, so extra care is required when picking the leaves to avoid damaging the plant. It has a red stem and red veins.
Its young, tender leaves can be used in salads while more mature leaves can be slightly cooked. The red cardinal is the fastest-growing spinach variety. It takes between 21 and 32 days to mature. It is also the fastest to bolt; this means it is best harvested when young and tender and used in salads.
10. New Zealand Spinach
Most of the already listed spinach types love growing during colder months, but not the New Zealand spinach. It grows best in the warmth of the summer.
It is native to New Zealand, Australia, and Asia and can be found growing in sandy shorelines. It is a crawling type of spinach that first grows in a heap on the ground then climbs other vegetation when it begins to mature.
Using one particular spinach variety for all your cooking and salad needs is okay. But if you want to unlock the spinach plant’s full potential, you have to use different types. They allow you to have an all year round supply of green spinach.
The varying flavor is another reason different planting types of spinach is a must. Excite your taste buds by giving it a taste of more than one spinach type.