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Spinach, Perpetual

Perpetual spinach is neither perpetual nor spinach. It’s a biennial plant that goes to seed the year after it’s sown, but will give an almost year round supply of leaves – February is a difficult month and plants are beginning to bolt in April and May. Also known as spinach beet or leaf beet this old style vegetable looks and tastes much like spinach but in fact is a member of the beet family.

It has never been bred to any extent and is usually available from the seedsman simply as perpetual spinach or as a named selection. Years ago growers in Rush always kept a few plants aside for home saved seed. It is sown from April to mid-August. Will bolt if sown too early but unlike spinach is resistant to summer bolting. Direct drill the seed 3 cm apart in 40 cm rows. Will get 2-3 cuts per sowing. For single plants sow much wider and thin to 25-30 cm apart.

The March sown crop will begin to crop in mid-June. The commercial crop is totally cut away with a second cut taken three weeks later after topdressing with nitrogen. On a garden scale the individual outside leaves can be taken from low down on the plant. The late crop in mid-August will come in late September-October and repeat harvests can be obtained from November through to May with the caveats already mentioned. The other possibility is to produce under protection (glass or polythene) from October to June. The pests and diseases listed below also attack Swiss chard.


Leatherjacket, flea beetle, leaf miner, aphid, slugs


Leaf spot, downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust