* Varieties may vary
This small-leaved, annual vegetable does best in fertile soil, ideally with plenty of organic matter, which is well drained, but moisture-retentive. It will tolerate light shade, but do not sow seed in fast-drying soil, as this encourages young plants to run to seed before they are ready to be harvested. Because of its high nitrogen requirement, spinach responds well to a top dressing of a general fertiliser or, better still, sulphate of ammonia. Spinach is often harvested as a ‘baby leaf’ crop nowadays, although it usually reaches maturity about 10 weeks after sowing.