Spinach Varieties: A Guide to Different Types of Spinach

Spinach, a nutritious and versatile leafy green, comes in various varieties that cater to different preferences and growing conditions. Whether you prefer crinkled leaves, upright growth, or smooth textures, there’s a spinach variety for everyone. Let’s explore the different types of spinach and their unique characteristics.

Savoy Spinach: Delightfully Crinkled and Cold Tolerant

Savoy Spinach is highly productive and thrives in colder temperatures. Its distinctive feature is its deeply crinkled leaves, which give it a unique appearance. However, cleaning these leaves can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have silty soil. Despite this, Savoy Spinach is known for its cold tolerance and ability to produce an abundant harvest.

One notable variety is ‘Regiment’, an F1 Hybrid that resists mildews. It yields tender, deep green leaves even when they grow large. Another classic choice is ‘Bloomsdale’, a thick-leafed and succulent spinach variety that handles cold weather exceptionally well. Although it produces bountiful yields in early summer, it is not as resistant to bolting.

Semi-Savoy Spinach: Easy to Clean and Disease Resistant

Semi-Savoy Spinach varieties have a more upright growth habit, which minimizes mud splashes and makes cleaning the leaves easier. These varieties are usually the best choice for home gardeners due to their disease and bolt resistance.

One notable variety is ‘Tyee’, an F1 Hybrid that boasts vigorous growth, dark green leaves, and excellent resistance to Downey Mildew. It can be grown throughout the year in mild-winter regions. ‘Catalina’, another F1 Hybrid, features succulent, spear-shaped leaves and moderate bolt resistance. For those seeking a slow-bolting variety, ‘Teton’ is an excellent choice. This three-season spinach variety has deep green oval leaves and is resistant to multiple races of Downey Mildew.

Smooth-Leafed Spinach: Perfect for Processing

Smooth-Leafed Spinach is the go-to choice for processed spinach due to its smooth and flat leaves, making them easier to clean. Although they may lack the crinkled appeal of other varieties, they have their own advantages.

Consider trying ‘Space’, an F1 Hybrid that resists Downey Mildew races 1-3 and is slower to bolt compared to most smooth-leafed varieties. If you’re looking to add a touch of color to your salads, ‘Red Cardinal’ is worth considering. With its red veins and deep red stems, these baby greens create a visually stunning addition to any dish. However, they bolt faster than green-leafed spinach and should be harvested when young.

Spinach Alternatives for Hot Weather

In regions where hot weather poses a challenge for true spinach growth, there are suitable alternatives available. New Zealand Spinach and Malabar Spinach are not botanically related to true spinach, but they make excellent substitutes.

New Zealand Spinach, with its crisp and succulent leaves, provides a delightful raw eating experience. However, it tends to become mushy when cooked. On the other hand, Malabar Spinach requires ample summer heat and a trellis to climb on. This vigorous vine reaches up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length, making it an ideal companion plant for summers that can support the growth of yard-long beans. Harvest its side-shoots for stir-frying or use its leaves and shoots in various culinary creations.

Spinach offers a world of possibilities with its different varieties. From crinkled leaves to smooth textures, there’s a spinach type that suits every taste. So, whether you’re looking to create a delicious salad or add nutrient-rich greens to your meals, explore the diverse range of spinach varieties and discover your favorite. Happy growing!

Image Source: Growing Spinach—‘New Zealand’ by Burpee Seeds and Spinach Varieties and Types of Spinach