I'm growing some spinach this year. Compared to the baby spinach we get in the store, my plants already have leaves the same size. Yet there are only 6 leaves total.

My question is, can I pinch off these baby leaves, and will the plant keep producing new leaves? Can I keep doing this for a while, and keep getting baby leaves? Obviously I wouldn't take too much, wanting to keep the plant growing. Maybe just pinch off the two biggest leaves.

2 Answers 2


A good rule of thumb with leafy vegetables is: after the plant is established you can freely take any leaf that is losing 1/3 of its light to newer leaves.

It's not something you MUST do, but if you're periodically harvesting all season it'll serve you well when you're wondering which are safe to take.

For most leafy veggies, the first 1-2 sets of leaves can be ill tasting compared to what the plant will deliver when it's established. If those sets lose >2/3 of their light and aren't growing anymore, pinch and throw away then commence the weekly/bi-weekly harvesting.


Generally in leafy vegetables, you can remove up to 20% of the leaves without too much trouble, and the plant keeps growing. Though of course you will slow the growth down a little. Leaves supply carbohydrates used as energy for growing the roots, and other plant structures.

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