If you grow your spinach in a pot or container with a drainage hole and a plate or tray underneath, I recommend that you bottom water it by pouring the water into the plate or tray instead of on top of the soil. If you do that, the water gets soaked up into the soil, which can help your spinach grow a bit better and faster. The difference is not huge, but it takes no extra effort, so why not do it? So why exactly is watering spinach from the bottom better than from the top?
Watering spinach from the bottom is slightly better than from the top since it promotes root growth and reduces the risk of overwatering. Bottom watering causes the water to be soaked up into the soil at the bottom of the pot, which encourages the roots to stretch and grow to reach the water.
The only thing you should keep in mind is that spinach has a relatively small root system compared to a lot of other vegetables, so if the pot you use is too tall, it can be hard for the roots to reach the water if you bottom water it. That is why I recommend using a wide but not very tall pot if you want to grow spinach in a pot. Keep reading to learn more.
In this article, you will learn more about why you should try bottom watering your spinach, even though it might only make a slight difference. You will also learn about why you probably shouldn’t do it right from the beginning as well as what to do if you are growing spinach directly in the ground and bottom watering is not an option. I also share a couple of other simple but really effective tricks for watering spinach, including how to tell if it needs to be watered, what time of the day is best for watering it, and more.
Why Bottom Watering Spinach Is Better Than Top Watering
Bottom watering is when you pour water into the plate or tray underneath a pot so that it gets soaked up into the soil instead of just pouring it on top of the soil. Doing this has a couple of advantages.
Since spinach is a relatively fast-growing and short-lived plant, there isn’t time for bottom watering to make a huge difference, but it can definitely make a small one, so I recommend that you at least try it.
Watering from the bottom instead of the top might not seem like a big deal, but it can actually help your spinach grow slightly better and faster. The difference might not be huge, but it takes no extra effort, so why not try it. So why exactly is bottom watering spinach worth it?
Watering spinach from the bottom is generally better than from the top since it promotes root growth. The reason is that the water is soaked up into the soil, which encourages the roots to stretch and grow to reach it. The roots, of course, also grow with normal watering, but usually not quite as much.
You shouldn’t bottom water your spinach for the first few weeks of its life, but I will get more into that in a bit.
You should also keep in mind that whether or not bottom watering is a good idea depends on the depth of your pot. It if is very deep, the plants’ roots might not be able to reach the water. Just keep an eye on your spinach to see if it looks healthy or is showing signs that it needs more water. I get more into this later in this article.
The reason why bottom watering works is that it promotes root growth. A larger root system allows the spinach plant to obtain more water and nutrients from the soil, which helps it grow faster and get bigger. I have another article where I share five other things you can do to make your spinach grow faster, which I recommend reading if it is relevant to you.
The roots will, of course, still grow if you pour the water on top of the soil, but they will most likely not grow quite as much as if you water from the bottom, simply because they don’t need to since the water seeps down through the soil and reaches them.
Another really good benefit of watering spinach from the bottom is that it can reduce the risk of overwatering slightly. Both because the slightly larger root system makes the plant able to take more water before it gets too much, but also because the soil stops soaking up more water when it is saturated, whereas water coming from the top will run through the soil no matter what.
Water your spinach from the top for the first few weeks
Keep in mind that you probably shouldn’t bottom water your spinach for the first few weeks after sowing it since its root system will be too small to reach the water.
After 3-4 weeks or so, you should be able to start watering it from the bottom. At that point, it should have a root system that is large enough to reach the water near the bottom of the pot, unless you use a very deep pot. In that case, you might need to wait longer or start using a pot that is not as deep.
What to Do if You Can’t Bottom Water Your Spinach
If you are growing spinach directly in the ground, in a pot or container without a plate or tray underneath it, or for some other reason can’t bottom water it, you should just water it from the top.
Top watering is fine. It has worked forever and still works, so if you can’t bottom water your spinach for whatever reason, just water it from the top.
I do, however, still have some tips for watering spinach to share with you that are very relevant no matter how you grow your spinach, so keep reading.
How to Tell if Your Spinach Needs to Be Watered
Spinach grows best in soil that is consistently moist and doesn’t get dry or too wet. This might sound a bit complicated, but I have a really simple trick you can use to determine when your spinach needs to be watered.
Spinach grows well in full sun but can also grow well in partial shade. You can read more about how much sunlight spinach needs here, but the more sunlight spinach gets, the more water it needs, which is something you have to be aware of.
A really simple trick I use to check if spinach needs to be watered is to lightly touch the soil and see if it is moist. It is fine if it is dry on the top, but if you stick the tip of a finger about an inch into the soil and it is still completely dry, you should give it some water. If the soil is moist or wet about an inch down, you should not give it more water.
It might be a bit difficult to determine if your spinach needs water with this method in the beginning, but if you make a habit of checking the soil this way every time before you water it, you will quickly get good at it.
Another way you can tell if your spinach needs to be watered is if it starts looking soft and lazy at the same time as the soil is dry. Just remember that soft and lazy-looking plants also can be a sign of overwatering, which is why you should also check the soil. You can read more about how to tell if your spinach is overwatered on this link.
Now that you know how to tell if your spinach needs to be watered, I want to teach you three really easy but great tips for watering spinach that can help your plants get stronger and grow better.
3 Simple but Effective Tips for Watering Spinach
Bottom watering spinach, as I have talked a lot about in this article, is great and can give your spinach a small boost so that it grows slightly better and faster, but I have a few more tricks for watering spinach that I want to share with you.
Water your spinach early in the morning
The best time to water spinach is early in the morning.
If you water your spinach in the morning, the water has time to seep into the soil to the roots, which is good since the plant needs a lot of water for later in the day when there is more sunlight.
If you water in the morning, the plant also has time to dry off before the sun goes down. This is good because too much water on and around the plant and in the soil can cause it to rot and cause mold to appear if it stays there for too long. This is also why I don’t recommend watering your spinach in the evening since it will stay wet for a long time.
All of this being said, you should always water your spinach if it is showing signs of being thirsty, regardless of the time of the day. I covered these signs earlier in this article.
Water when your plants need it instead of on a fixed schedule
Watering your spinach on a schedule might work fine, but you risk giving it too much, or too little water since its needs depends on a couple of things that change all the time.
How much water spinach needs depends on the size of the plant and the size of its root system, and on what growing conditions the plant has, including how warm it is, how sunny it is, and what type of soil it grows in.
Older and larger spinach plants need a lot more water than seedlings or small plants, and all spinach plants need a lot more water on warm and sunny days than on cloudy days.
This is why I don’t recommend watering your spinach on a fixed schedule, but instead when it asks for it. I covered how to tell if your spinach needs to be watered earlier in this article.
Avoid getting water on the plant
Bottom watering is great, but if you are growing your spinach in the ground or for other reasons can’t bottom water it, regular top watering is perfectly fine and will work well.
But if you water your spinach from the top, I still have a tip for you.
Try to avoid getting water on the plants but instead pour it directly onto the soil. Try to hold the watering can or hose (or whatever else you use) as close to the ground as possible and pour carefully. The reason is that you want to avoid splashing soil, stones, or other things onto the leaves since that can increase the risk of diseases in the plant.
If you pour water directly onto the plant, some of the leaves can also be weighed down by the water so that they are laying directly on the ground. This also increases the risk of mold and diseases.