Imagine growing spinach for your guinea pigs, they will have food right there in the garden every minute of the day. No need to rush off to the shops and buy old limp spinach - give them some you grew especially - it's fresh, crisp and nutritious.
Guinea Pig feed can be quite varied and spinach is one of their main delights, and they can eat heaps of it each week.
WHEN TO PLANT
You can start planting in early Spring and continue until about 50 days before the winter frosts start.
WHERE TO PLANT
If you live in really hot weather then make sure you plant in semi shade. If you live in a cool climate then you can plant in the full sun. The main thing to consider when growing spinach is make sure you don't plant in a place where it is too hot.
HARVESTING – This plant just keeps on giving
Generally you will be able to start picking them for your guinea pigs after about 40 days. Make sure you cut them from the outside of the plant, this will allow the inner leaves to keep growing and they will produce a new crop for you to pick later on.
SEEDS OR SEEDLINGS/PLUGS?
Seeds - It is quite easy to plant with seeds and they can take up to two weeks to germinate. Plant the seeds half an inch deep (1.5cm) and two inches (5 cm) apart in wide rows. You can continue to plant seeds every two weeks to make sure you don't run out.
Seedlings - Young Plants
Some people prefer planting spinach from seeds but when you go shopping you will see small spinach plants are also available. You can buy these and transplant them into your garden. I have done this with great success. I have also sewn seeds with the young plants.
Spinach needs space to grow so when the plants are about 4 inches (10 cm) tall check to see if they are too close together as you will need to carefully pull some out. They will grow best when about six inches (15 cm) apart.
Make sure you are careful as you don't want to harm the roots of the plants nearby. Don't be upset to take some away, just feed those ones to your guinea pigs and stand back and watch just how much more then enjoy them compared to shop bought spinach.
You can provide a huge amount of your guinea pigs spinach each year and it can be a lot of fun. I hope you have a try and enjoy yourself.