1 month old spinach plants...bolting?

veriria(5-6)May 1, 2011

So my two "baby" spinach plants have formed (are forming?) what looks to be a flower in the middle. They are tiny, I just noticed them today. I must admit that I didn't think much of how the hours of light may vary greatly between different plants :/

Anyways, what should I do about my spinach plants, if anything? I have lots more seeds so I could always start again. How many hours under my grow lights should they get?

As of right now I tend to turn the lights on when I wake up (8 am or later) and turn the lights off around midnight. I have two shelves which each have 4 t-12 lights, with two warm and two cool lights a piece.

I also have a few more baby spinach plants that are only about two weeks old. Should I start giving those reduced lighting? Is 16 hours under the shop lights TOO much?

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nygardener(z6 New York)

The problem is probably heat. Spinach likes cool weather and bolts when it's warm. If you can keep the grow room something like 60 degrees during the day and 50 at night, you'll probably have better luck. A small fan with an open window nearby might help.

Another possibility is that you're growing them in containers that are too small. Start them in small cells and then transplant them (after teasing out the outer roots) to a 6" pot. I'd still harvest them within 45 days or so, because even outdoors in cool weather spinach is fairly short-lived.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:04AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Well, 2-4 weeks old is pretty early for the plants to bolt -- they probably have no more than a few leaves! Let them grow a little longer and see if the "flower" stalk is just a stem making leaves.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:05AM
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Yeah I'm going to leave them be for now. My house is probably about 70 degrees on average now; we still have the heat "on" but it rarely does kick on, as it's been in the mid-60's lately. My set-up is in this small room off of the living room -- it is a bricked-up all seasons room. It is not insulated but it does have two vents to bring in the heat and A/C during the summer. So basically it is probably a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house.

Should I take my spinach (and the other lettuces I'm growing) out from under the lights and place them elsewhere for an even shorter exposure?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:25AM
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I had the same thing happen to a few of my spinach plants. They would rather be 40 degrees than 70 degrees, so if it is feasible, put them outside.

I planted my spinach seedlings this weekend in a raised bed that I can cover with plastic if it gets to cold. As I was putting them in, I noticed that the 2-3 largest plants looked to be putting out flowers. I ate them, and planted the rest. I assumed it was a combination of to small a pot and to much heat.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Well I'm going to call it an experiment, and not plant any more of the spinach seeds I have now. Instead, I ordered some "New Zealand Spinach" seeds, after researching about the plant. I've never tasted this particular plant's leaves before, but it does well during warmer times and, bonus! a lot of people say it is very like Spinach, and some even think it tastes better. I also purchased several varieties of lettuce seeds that are known to do better during summer months and are slow to bolt, as it were.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:31PM
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