Growing Spinach for Guinea Pigs and People

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.

Growing spinach is easy and fun

Growing spinach is easy and fun

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.

How to grow spinach

Spinach seedling (plugs) in a large container

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.

NOTES

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.

How to Grow Pumpkins

Learning how to grow pumpkins for Halloween can be such an amazing experience. It only takes a little bit of planning and some space in your garden.

This is a fantastic way to get the children involved in gardening and for the family to spend time on a project that will take a few months to reach completion.

garden seed

Pumpkin is grown from garden seed

When you start cleaning out a pumpkin you will see quite a few seeds in the center along with what they call ‘pulp’. You can save each seed and use them at a later time when you are ready to plant.

seeds

You can see pumpkin seed resting here in their hands. They are quite large and easy to handle. Different types of pumpkin have different colors and size seeds.


young pumpkin

This is a lovely photo of a young pumpkin just after it has started to sprout

Just plant the seed about one inch under the soil. Don’t press the soil down too hard on top of the seed as it needs to be able to break through into the sunlight once it sprouts.

Lightly water the area where you planted the seeds – not too much or with too much force as you may dislodge the seed.

Pumpkins are happy to be in the sun all day.

They just love having enough space to sprawl about the garden so make sure you have given them enough room.

If they get in the way of other parts of your garden you can prune them or redirect them by just gently picking up one of the vines and placing it in the direction you want it to grow.

pumpkin garden seeds

Sometimes people place these pumpkin garden seeds direct into the soil and other times they place them into small growing pots then replant once they get to about this size.

Growing in the pots is a good idea if you live in a frost area as it will give the new plant a better chance to survive. How to grow pumpkins can change depending on your climate.

pumpkin growing

After a while, the pumpkin will develop not only large leaves but also what they call ‘tendrils’. These are the small twisty pieces you can see in the photo at the end of the leaf.

These tendrils can wind around fences, sheds, corn, stakes in the ground, and any other items you have nearby. You can watch them do this or even place objects in their way and watch as they climb all over it as the days and weeks go by.

pumpkin patches

Eventually, you will start to see masses of large yellow flowers as seen here in the photo. Make sure you don’t touch or break any of these as they are the very start of a brand new pumpkin.

It can be great fun to watch the flowers progress into such massive pumpkins.

Why not take some photos to keep track of the progress and teach others how to grow pumpkins.

How do plants grow?

Many people wanting to start their own garden ask the question ‘how do plants grow’? Well, it’s pretty simple really, plants need to have the right environment to grow and that can vary depending on the species, climate, light, water, wind, frost, heat, sunlight, darkness and the list goes on and on.

Basically plants should and will grow well if they are given the environment best suited to their own needs – you just need to find out what they are and provide them to achieve healthy plants.

One of the best things to learn is how to actually plant seeds and seedlings as that will really help the plants grow well.

I always place straw over the top of my raised garden beds as where I live it’s hot in summer and this mulch helps to keep the soil moist and cool. People often get confused as to how to actually plant into the straw and you can see how easy it is from these photos I have taken.


How do plants grow made easy

The important thing to remember about planting a seedling is that you actually plant into the straw, not the soil. Most people I have spoken to are surprised by this, as they think it is necessary to plant into the soil. Make sure it is a deep planting, BUT only into the straw.

Create a hollow in the straw all the way from the surface to the base of the straw layer. (The hollow should be the same depth as the straw layer).

Take the seedling in your hand and try to get as much of the original seedling soil mix as possible. (I had some spare seedling mix so I wrapped that around the existing soil).

covering the roots

Gently place the seedling into the hollow making sure you have it safely resting there. Remember don’t plant it into the soil layer, plant above that, the roots should be just touching the bottom of the straw layer and the top of the soil layer.

Gently pull the straw around the base of the seedling and make sure you have it securely in place.

settling plant

Firmly secure the seedling now, as this is the last time you will need touch it make sure it is in deep enough.

Making sure you have planted your seedlings well is certainly a great start to how plants grow strong and healthy.

planted