Spinach is Not a Warm Weather Plant

Posted on Apr 19 2011 - 2:30am by Mike Lieberman

A few weeks ago, I posted about white clusters on the stems of a spinach plant. It turns out that the spinach plant is bolting and that it’s not insects.

There have a been some consecutive days of warm weather, which spinach doesn’t like. I assumed that greens could be grown year round here in LA, but I guess not all of them.

Previously I learned that basil does not like the cold weather and that kale can tolerate the cold. Now I’ve learned that spinach cannot tolerate much heat.

It’s all starting to come together.

What are some other plants and veggies that you know of that don’t like the warmer weather?


30 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Malchus April 19, 2011 at 10:37 am -

    Most salad plants like lettuce, spinach, lambs lettuce, but also root plants like kohlrabi and some beets as well as sugar peas don’t really like the heat. Kohlrabi gets woody and the salads start to bolt and set flower to seeds.

  2. Shaineinok April 19, 2011 at 11:33 am -

    I learned that last year. Try swiss chard instead. It’s remarkably hardy, more with cold than hot but does “okay” in the heat.. Tasty too if you don’t let the leaves get to big.

  3. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm -

    Word. The swiss chard is doing great so far.

  4. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm -

    Thanks for the advice.

  5. nan April 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm -

    kale actually tastes better after a light frost in fall. chard is a great indoor plant, but tolerates cold, like spinach and lettuce.

    my lettuce bolted last summer from the unusually hot june. it was just about perfect heads of red romaine. i was so bummed! we have no control over the weather……..

  6. nan April 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm -

    kale actually tastes better after a light frost in fall. chard is a great indoor plant, but tolerates cold, like spinach and lettuce.

    my lettuce bolted last summer from the unusually hot june. it was just about perfect heads of red romaine. i was so bummed! we have no control over the weather……..

  7. Kacee April 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm -

    yes, any lettuce or salad green does better is cooler weather (spring and fall, maybe even winter in your area) sowing. Also ANY of the brassica family plants (broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi ect) are cool weather crops. Peas, like someone said before.

  8. Kacee April 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm -

    Also, Dill, radishes. Sorry I am just thinking of what goes out first in my garden in a much different climate than yours. We are still too wet and cool to plant here.

  9. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm -

    That is true. Makes us appreciate food that much more when we actually grow some.

  10. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm -

    No worries. Thanks for sharing the info.

  11. Anonymous April 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm -

    Bok Choy is a difficult one for me here in LA, a series of warm days just in the low 70’s has been enough to make mine bolt 🙁 need to find a more bolt resistant strain. Peas are impossible for me starting in about June, I’m partly loving our unusually long cold winter this year because I’m getting tons of sugar snap peas out of it… I couldn’t get any garlic to start last summer, but one has been overwintering very nicely 🙂

  12. Kacee April 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm -

    In PA we plant our garlic in the fall- overwinter it and harvest in Aug or Sept

  13. Elizabeth Fisher April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm -

    Peas like to be planted in cool soil here. Usually do them first, then the green beans in their vacated space. Snowing now. Supposed to get 6-10 “.

  14. Anonymous April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm -

    same for vancouver

  15. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm -

    Just shows there is no exact way to do this. Gotta see what nature delivers.

  16. SoftSoap April 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm -

    I planted a variety of lettuce plants a few weeks ago because we are having a cool Spring here on the East Coast and I thought it wasn’t too late. Unfortunately, it may have been too late as the swings in temperatures are messing with the plants and one has already bolted. Last year, I planted arugula and was so proud of my plants and just let them grow and grown, not realizing I should have been harvesting. By the time I did, the plants were totally inedible (like eating a handful of black pepper). Someone told me when you don’t harvest at the appropriate time, the plant will continue to get a little more bitter each day. Another lesson learned.

  17. Lilliejp2 April 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm -

    I planted several lettuce plants in large containers on my west facing Michigan deck last Friday. The lettuce plants were covered with snow Monday morning. After the snow melted Monday afternoon, the lettuce looked great! It’s Tuesday evening. The temp is around 30 degrees and falling. There is a cold light rain mixed with sleet. The lettuce still look great! There is a snowstorm headed this way tonight. Temps are expected to dive into the teens. I have my fingers crossed.

  18. Mike Lieberman April 20, 2011 at 4:15 am -

    Snowing? Damned. Where are you?

  19. Mike Lieberman April 20, 2011 at 4:15 am -

    Hahaha. I’ve done the same thing and let my plants grow until they are inedible….

  20. Jes April 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm -

    Definitely all varieties of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard (though it does last a little longer), cabbage and most greens. Once they bolt they start to get bitter. Asparagus and Peas are usually cool weather, Spring only. Strawberries are early season and like the cool. Also Radishes, Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower. Some plants will start to bolt in the heat and need the buds need to be cut back before they flower – garlic, onions, etc. But garlic scapes are delicious! For garlic the energy from the plant will then go back into producing a larger bulb, with onions it is a little more questionable and people say once an onion starts to go to seed there is nothing you can do, but eat it. 🙂 Garlic and onions are tricked easily by fluctuating temperatures and garlic, in particular, should be planted in the Fall as it generally likes the cold temps of winter.

  21. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2011 at 1:10 am -

    Oh the anticipation. Keep me updated.

  22. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2011 at 1:13 am -

    So much to learn. So much to learn. Thanks for the tips.

  23. Jennie April 21, 2011 at 4:04 am -

    If you really want spinach in the summer you can try New Zealand Spinach, which is a warm weather substitute. I’ve never tried growing it, but will once I find some seeds. Chard will also last through the summer, as long as you don’t have a crazy spring (it can be tricked into thinking a whole year went by if the weather changes too drastically! That happened to my chard last spring.)

  24. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm -

    Thanks for the tip. Seems like there are some varieties of spinach that like the warmer weather. Might just have to seek those out.

  25. Thuy Le April 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm -

    Hi, my name is Thuy Le, I’m a Vietnamese, i live in Vietnam now, so my english’s not good. I hope you will understand what I say, ok. I just want to say I so love the way you work for your garden, I have so much to learn from you, how to make self watering containers, how to plant, how to water…I want to make some pots like this, but my house is so tiny, I just have a little space in my balcony (smaller than your), so you have any ideas for me? Can i use a smaller pots? This is my first time plant something, I worry I will faile. Waiting your reply. Thank you so much.
    PS: Are you a good chef? Look at your dish I feel so hungry. ^_^

    Xin chào, em tên là Thủy Lê, em là người Việt Nam, và đang sống tại Việt Nam, nên tiếng Anh của em không được tốt cho lắm. Hy vọng là anh sẽ hiểu những gì em nói, ok. Em rất thích cách anh làm việc cho khu vườn của anh, cách làm thùng trồng cây, cách trồng, cách tưới nước…Em cũng mốn làm vài cái giống như vậy, nhưng nhà em nhỏ lắm, em chỉ có 1 khoảng khong gian nhỏ trên balcony (nhỏ hơn balcony của anh nhiều), anh có thể cho em vài ý tưởng không? Em có thể dùng thùng nhỏ hơn không? Đây là lần đầu em trồng cây, em sưoj mình sẽ thất bại. Chờ anh trả lời. Cám ơn anh rất nhiều.
    Tái bút : Anh có phải là đầu bếp giỏi không đấy? Nhìn món anh nấu mà em thấy đói quá. ^_^

  26. onegreentomato April 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm -

    I haven’t read all the comments but you may want to try Malabar Spinach. Technically, it’s not spinach but the taste and usage are the same. It thrives in hot weather and it’s a climber, so you will want to trellis it…maybe an edible privacy fence for your balcony?? Best part is it’s a perennial so no need to replant each growing season. I get mine from Seed Savers Exchange.

  27. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm -

    You can certainly use smaller pots or even soda bottles https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/creative-gardens-in-small-spaces/hanging-garden-planter/

    Don’t worry about failure. It will certainly happen. Embrace it. Learn from it and move on.

    keep me updated.

  28. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm -

    Thanks for the tip. Will look into some malabar.

  29. Brian from Temecula April 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm -

    My spinach just bolted too. I’m kind of bummed, because it never got big enough to harvest, and I planted it in the middle of winter. I guess I need to plant it in late fall or early winter.

  30. Mike Lieberman April 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm -

    Yea same here. Live and learn. Good thing to learn though.

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