Germinating Spinach

Asked August 20, 2018, 8:49 AM EDT

I am thinking of planting some spinach for fall harvest. But I have heard that Spinach will not germinate in hot weather.... Is that correct? Also, does spinach need light to germinate? Maybe I could start my spinach indoors, in the refrigerator?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Spinach is a cool weather plant, similar to lettuce and Swiss chard. Below, I have answered your questions and provided a link to our publication on growing spinach:

1. Will spinach germinate in warm weather? Yes, but long days and high temperatures will cause it to bolt, or bloom, which signals the end of its productivity. This is because the plant stops growing the edible leaves and puts its energy into a flower stalk. Planting a crop now should do well because our days are getting shorter and cooling off.
2. Does it need light to germinate? The seed doesn't need light to germinate, but it does need some warmth and light shortly after pushing though the soil because the seed will have used up its energy to sprout. It needs exposure to the sun in order to photosynthesize and make energy to grow.
3. Can I start it indoors in my frig? I don't know if the seed would germinate under refrigerator temperatures. I think not. The lowest temperature at which the plant can successfully start to grow is 45 degrees.

Thank you for contacting Extension.