Gardeners know the joy of plucking homegrown spinach leaves for salads or sautés. Yet finicky spinach often bolts quickly in the summer heat before reaching its tender, tasty peak.
Take your spinach cultivation to the next level with hydroponic growing techniques for the freshest harvests possible. Hydroponics precisely controls nutrients and conditions, allowing baby leaf harvests in as little as 20 days while avoiding pest, disease, and weed pressures.
You can set up scalable systems matching available space and desired yields. Quickly tweak lighting, temperatures, and nutrient balances to keep plants happy from seed to continual harvesting. Discover all you need to know to grow pesticide-free spinach year-round.
We’ll cover preferred varieties, sprouting secrets, ideal growth parameters, and more so you can enjoy homegrown flavor within weeks. So, let’s ride on the hydroponic hyperloop!!
|Fewer pests and diseases||Hydroponic spinach is less susceptible to pests and diseases than soil-grown spinach.|
|More bountiful harvest||Hydroponic spinach can produce a larger yield than soil-grown spinach due to its efficient use of space.|
|Nutritious||Spinach is a healthy leafy green rich in vitamins and minerals; hydroponic spinach is no exception.|
|Greater efficiency in water usage||Use up to 90% less water than soil-based systems, making them more water-efficient and environmentally friendly.|
|Cleaner and better-tasting plants||Hydroponic spinach are free from soil-borne diseases and pests, resulting in cleaner and better-tasting plants.|
|Year-round production||Hydroponic spinach is free from soil-borne diseases and pests, resulting in cleaner and better-tasting plants.|
When it comes to growing hydroponic spinach, you have several options for the type of hydroponic system. Two popular choices are Deep Water Culture (DWC) and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT).
DWC involves suspending the spinach plants’ roots in oxygenated, nutrient-rich water. The plants are placed in net pots, and the roots dangle below into the water solution. This method directly provides ample oxygen and nutrients to the roots, promoting plant growth and overall health.
NFT is a system where a thin film of nutrient-rich water continuously flows over the plant roots.
The spinach plants are placed in channels, and the roots are exposed to the flowing water, allowing efficient nutrient absorption. NFT is an excellent option for limited space at an affordable cost, as it maximizes vertical growth.
Gardening Fun Fact: Astronauts Use Hydroponics to Grow Plants in Space. Hydroponic systems provide them with fresh food during their missions, and they enjoy gardening even in zero gravity!
As we know the two best hydroponic systems for spinach farming, it is time to review the requirements for growing hydroponic spinach successfully:
Spinach requires 10-12 hours of daily sunlight or its equivalent in artificial lighting. Using full-spectrum LED grow lights will ensure optimum growth and development.
Considering the Wattage, Spinach doesn’t require extremely high light intensity, so that you can opt for a grow light with a wattage between 20-50 watts for a small indoor garden.
A balanced nutrient solution is vital for hydroponic spinach farming. Look for a hydroponic-specific formula that includes macro and micronutrients.
Remember to monitor pH levels to maintain an optimal range of 5.5-6.5 using the best pH meters for hydroponics.
Although hydroponics doesn’t require soil, you’ll still need a growing medium to support the spinach plants. A growing medium is a mixture of components that provide water, air, nutrients, and plant support. Usually, different organic materials are mixed with dirt and other nutrients.
Vermiculite, perlite, or coconut coir are commonly used for this purpose. They provide stability for the plants while allowing for proper root oxygenation.
Spinach prefers temperatures between 55-70°F (12-21°C) during the day and slightly cooler temperatures at night. Maintain a humidity level of 40-60% for maximum growth.
Once you have set up your hydroponic nutrients system and gathered all the necessary supplies, it’s time to plant and care for your hydroponic spinach:
Choose high-quality spinach farming seeds specifically labeled for hydroponic cultivation. Varieties like Bloomsdale, Renegade, and Space are ideal for growing hydroponically due to their adaptability to controlled environments.
Start germinating the seeds on a moist paper towel or in seedling trays. Ensure they are well-hydrated and away from direct sunlight until they sprout.
Once the seeds have sprouted, carefully transfer them to your hydroponic system. Place the roots correctly in the system and allow sufficient space between each plant for optimal growth.
Transplantation is crucial in transforming seedlings into mature plants in a hydroponic system. Diligence and precision in handling, positioning, and caring for your seedlings will set the stage for their successful growth.
For your spinach to receive the right balance of essential nutrients, the optimal pH range should be between 5.5 and 6.5. Monitor the nutrient solution regularly so it stays within this range.
Maintaining a consistent water level in your system allows the plants’ roots to access the nutrient-rich solution.
The primary nutrients you will need to give your spinach plants are calcium and magnesium, combined with a slight trace of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to maintain the EC range (nutrient intensity): 1.8 – 2.3. Keep the nitrogen level low, as you don’t want to burn the tips of the leaves.
Begin slowly with the nutrients, adding a nutrient-light mix. You can add more after a few weeks until you reach full strength. To avoid bitter leaves, decrease the nutrient level to a light strength before harvesting.
Harvesting spinach in a hydroponic system is a straightforward process, and doing it at the right time for the best results is essential.
Typically, you’ll want to start harvesting when the spinach leaves are around 4-6 inches long, and the plants have reached about 37- 45 days of age. Picking only the outer leaves is a good practice to ensure the plant thrives, allowing the inner ones to grow.
Use scissors or a sharp knife for a gentle and precise harvest. Position the tool just above the base of the plant (about 1 inch above the crown) and snip the leaves off.
This method prevents damage to the plant’s growing point and promotes continuous growth, giving you a steady supply of fresh spinach throughout your hydroponic gardening season.
With hydroponics, growing spinach has become easy and rewarding. From the convenience of your home, you can enjoy a constant supply of delicious, nutrient-packed spinach all year.
Yes, hydroponic spinach can be grown outdoors, provided you have the necessary hydroponic system. You can provide optimal growing conditions such as adequate sunlight, temperature control, and protection from pests and extreme weather.
Not at all! Hydroponics is beginner-friendly and doesn’t require extensive gardening knowledge. Anyone can successfully grow hydroponic spinach With little research and attention to detail.
Hydroponic spinach typically grows faster than its soil-grown counterparts. Under ideal conditions, you can expect to harvest your first batch of hydroponic spinach within five to six weeks after planting.
Spinach is a crop that thrives in cooler weather, making it sensitive to temperatures exceeding 75°F. The ideal daytime temperature range for its growth and flavor is between 65°F and 70°F.
When it comes to light, spinach hydroponically flourishes with a balanced 12-hour light-on, 12-hour light-off cycle. While direct sunlight is optimal, fluorescent, high-pressure sodium, or HID lighting can also be effective. If you can select specific light color bands, opt for the blue spectrum, as it promotes optimal leaf production.
The choice of spinach variety and the type of hydroponic system employed significantly influence growing conditions. Typically, spinach seeds require approximately 40-50 days from seed to harvest. However, in hydroponic systems designed to expedite growth, you may be able to harvest your spinach in as few as 35 days.
Growing spinach can be frustrating if your plants don’t reach maturity. Common issues include root problems due to insufficient oxygen, leading to root rot and wilting. Premature seed production can occur when there’s too much light or high temperatures. Inadequate moisture can also hinder germination, so increasing moisture in your germination setup can yield better results.