growing knowledge

When & How to Harvest Spinach

Spinach, a versatile and fast-growing green, is popular in gardens worldwide. Harvesting spinach at the right time not only ensures maximum flavor and nutritional benefits but also enhances your gardening experience. Furthermore, you have multiple ways to harvest spinach. Read on to know when and how to harvest spinach with our step-by-step guides.

Table of Contents

When to Harvest Spinach 

Spinach thrives in cooler weather and tends to bolt, or flower, under high sun and warm temperatures. Therefore, knowing when to harvest spinach is crucial for obtaining the best flavor and preventing the plant from bolting. 

Most spinach varieties are ready for harvest in 6-8 weeks, or 37 to 45 days, after planting. You can start harvesting when the plant forms a rosette of five to six leaves. Look for leaves that are vibrant and full-sized but not overly large. You can also select baby spinach, which is known for its sweeter taste and tender texture. It's important to harvest spinach leaves before they turn yellow and within a week after the leaves have fully formed. 


Harvesting Spinach by the Leaf

This is the easiest method for harvesting spinach. All you need is a pair of scissors.

  1. Decide whether you want baby leaves (which are sweeter and more tender) or larger, mature leaves. Then identify the leaves you want to harvest - typically, the outer or oldest leaves are picked first.
  2. Hold the leaf gently with one hand and use the scissors to snip the stem close to the base with the other hand.
  3. It’s important to harvest no more than one-third of the plant at a time to allow it to continue growing healthily.
  4. After harvesting, water the plant to encourage regrowth, which usually occurs within a few days.

Harvesting Spinach by the Bunch (Clear Cutting)

This method is suitable for harvesting larger quantities of spinach. For this, you will need a serrated knife.

  1. Grasp a bunch of leaves from one plant with one hand.
  2. Use the serrated knife to cut through the stems just above the crown (the point where all the stems meet).
  3. This method allows for the plant to regenerate leaves, typically taking about two weeks for new growth to appear.

Harvesting Spinach by the Whole Plant

By collecting the whole spinach, you won’t have the chance to re-grow it. Therefore, this method is ideal for clearing out your garden bed or when you do not require regrowth.

  1. The best time to harvest a whole spinach plant is before the plant begins to flower (bolt).
  2. If the plant shows signs of bolting, such as narrow, pointy leaves with a thick center stem starting to develop flower buds, it’s time to harvest.
  3. Cut the plant just below the crown with a knife, or pull it out by hand if you’re clearing the area for new plants.

Post-Harvesting Spinach Handling & Storage

how to harvest spinach

After harvesting spinach, it's crucial to handle it correctly to preserve its freshness and quality. Start by thoroughly rinsing the leaves to remove any dirt, soaking and rinsing them multiple times if necessary. Before storing, ensure any discolored or damaged leaves are removed. To maintain freshness, lightly bundle the stems and wrap them in a paper towel, which helps absorb excess moisture. You can then store the wrapped spinach in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator, ideally between 41 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (5-10 degrees Celsius). When properly stored, spinach can remain fresh for 10 to 14 days.


By understanding the optimal time to harvest, employing the right techniques for picking the leaves, and properly handling and storing the spinach post-harvest, you can ensure that your spinach remains fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Whether you choose to harvest leaf by leaf, by the bunch, or the whole plant, each method provides unique benefits and suits different gardening needs. 

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