I have around 2 month old spinach planted in pots. A flowering shoot is coming out of one pot, out of which I have taken 4 harvests and in another repotted two weeks ago which are younger and only one harvest taken, two shoots are coming out. Is it overcrowding that is the culprit? Or is it something else? It is peak winter season here with temperatures being minimum 10 degrees Celsius and maximum 22 degrees celsius with somewhat sunny afternoons. Pots are 12 inch diameter at top.

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  • What would be the ideal distance between the plants while replanting? Pot would be 12 inch in diameter.
    – Wodin Tiw
    Commented Dec 24, 2023 at 18:08
  • A 12” pot is large enough for 5 plants in my opinion. Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 1:27
  • Some bolted plants have got mixed up with unbolted ones while thinning and replanting. Will they produce bitter leaves later on?
    – Wodin Tiw
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


Bolting ends leaf growth and speeds up the death of an annual after flowering, that's all*. It adds a little bitterness to the leaf but is not a contagious disease.

Growing cold-lovers in heat is the main culprit, not crowding. That's why spinach dishes are associated with cooler Florence (eggs florentine), and heat-loving tomatoes/eggplant with Southern Italy, Rome, Sicily.

Photographs also indicate you forgot to thin your seedlings, removing weaker plants.

*--Plants that flower have no interest as we do in its leaves, only to the degree of getting the critical mass of their factory to get to the flowering part. That's why they want to bolt and we don't like it.

  • Temperatures are 7 deg c minimum and 22 deg c maximum. Is this because of heat early in the season during October because isn't the given temperature range okay? Location is New Delhi. And I was talking about bitter leaves in the bolted ones only.
    – Wodin Tiw
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 10:17
  • Yes, 22C now is not too high, but you say early it was hotter. Over 24C is too high, but it's not like the plants use thermometers, so the proof of the bolting is in the bolting. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 14:04
  • Seeing the weather history, it does seem to have touched 24 degrees celsius regularly during the afternoon in December too. So why did the plants wait till December to do this? Why didn't they bolt in oct-nov? Also, how do farmers in my region grow spinach without a fuss all winter round? I appreciate your taking time in answering me. It is all just new knowledge for me.
    – Wodin Tiw
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 16:42
  • Start your plants later. Push faster growth with 20-10-10 fertilizer, because Nitrogen boosts leaves, not 10-20-10, because Phosphorus boosts flowers. Fish emulsion is an example of organic high-Nitrogen food. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 18:09
  • Is 19-19-19 okay too since I had added this.
    – Wodin Tiw
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 3:17

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