How to Grow Spinach In Paperpots (Paper Chain Pots)

Growing Spinach in Paperpots

Better germination!

No hand transplanting!

Less transplant shock!

Growing spinach in paper chain pots will increase your chances of having a successful spinach crop.

Spinach is a popular crop for most market gardeners. 

Direct seeding at certain times of year is very difficult and often produces subpar results.  Given that most market gardeners transplant their spinach at these times.

But transplanting spinach (the traditional way) brings its own set of problems.   Transplanting is both time and labor-intensive.

The Paperpot Transplanter solves this problem.

It allows you to germinate spinach in a controlled environment then quickly and easily transplant it into the field 28 days later.

All without bending over and less transplant shock!

The Specifications for Paperpot Spinach

ROWS PER 100’ X 30” BED4
TRAYS PER 100’ X 30” BED 8
KWIK KLIK™ TOP PLATE Plate: Paperpot (264 holes) / Thickness: 3mm / Hole Diameter: 7mm
SEED PER 100’ X 30’ BED8532 seeds (+/-) *Always round up when placing seed orders to ensure having enough
RECOMMENDED CULTIVARSSpace, Red Kitten, Gazelle, Flamingo
GERMINATION 5 days at 70°F
DAYS TO TRANSPLANT 28 days (+/-) *time from seeding to transplanting in the field
DAYS TO MATURITY 55 days (+/-) *time from seeding to being ready for harvest
HARVEST WINDOW28 days (+/-) *time crop is at ideal stage for harvest after reaching maturity
TOTAL DAYS IN FIELD 55 days (+/-) *DTM + harvest window - days to transplant
TARGET CROP YIELD 60 pounds (+/-) *average 3 cuttings per bed, 20lbs. per cutting
PRICE PER UNIT $10 *depending on local market pricing
REVENUE PER BED $600 *depending on local market pricing
SEEDINGKwik Klik™ Drop Seeder, Paperpot Germination Trays, Paper Chain Pots
TRANSPLANTINGPaperpot Transplanter
TILTHINGPower Harrow or Precision Depth Roller (With no tractor: Tither)
AERATIONMeadow Creature Broadfork
SHAPINGBed Preparation Rake
CULTIVATIONFlex Tine Weeder or Collinear Hoe

Suggested Tools for Paperpot Spinach

Bed Preparation for Paperpot Transplanting

  • Broadfork the bed to aerate and loosen the soil.
  • Smooth and shape the bed with a bed preparation rake, removing any debris.
  • Beets will If the previous crop was fertilized, spinach will do fine without reapplication.
  • If not, here are two options:
    • 1) Layer on 1” of compost, enough to mostly cover the native soil.
    • 2) Sprinkle on a combination of alfalfa meal and pelleted chicken manure.
  • If layering compost, do not tilth in hopes of smothering any surface weed seed.
  • If adding amendments, tilth the top 1-2” of soil to mix in amendments.
  • Calcium and Boron are also important amendments for beets. Without sufficient boron, beet growth suffers and the roots develop internal black spots.
  • Irrigate for 10-14 days*, allowing any weed seed in top layer of soil to germinate.
  • Flame weed the bed when the cotyledons of the weed seeds have emerged.

Growing Spinach in Paperpots

Seeding Spinach in Paperpots

Prepare trays with 2” paper chain pots, and fill with potting mix. 

Install Paperpot bottom plate and specified top plate into Kwik Klik™ (KK) Drop Seeder

Pour seed onto the top plate and rotate until 3-4 seedS fills each hole. 

Position the KK Drop Seeder over the tray, ensuring the holes are lined up with the cells, and click to drop the seeds. 

Water the trays, then place in germination chamber for 5 days at 70°. 

Transfer the trays to greenhouse tables after germination. 

Thoroughly water trays before heading to the field for transplanting.

Using the Paperpot Transplanter, plant the four rows of spinach.

There should be 7.5” between rows, and 3.75” from the outer rows to the edge of the bed.

Reference for instructional videos if needed.

Transplanting Spinach with the Paperpot Transplanter


Water the beds thoroughly with overhead irrigation, or four rows of drip.

More frequent, shallow waterings will help prevent bolting.

It is important to water throughout warm days and keep spinach covered with shade cloth if attempting to grow in the warm season.

14 days after direct seeding, cultivate using a flex tine weeder (2 passes per bed).

Repeat this process again after another 7 days.

Cultivation (Weeding)

Harvesting Spinach

Target size for harvest is a 3-4” (+/-) leaf with no more than 1” of stem.

Approximately 25 days to first harvest (depending on season).

If the variety you are growing stands upright, the Quick Cut Greens Harvester may be used for harvest.

You can also harvest by hand with a harvest knife, bunching together the greens with one hand, and cutting at lest 1” above the soil with the other hand, so as to avoid cutting the growing point.

Agitate the spinach by hand (or use a bubbler) for no more than 1 minute in the wash tube, while scanning for debris, bugs, or damaged greens.

Leaves can become water logged if left longer than one minute in the water.

After drying and bagging, store the spinach at 35° and sell within 3 days of harvest.

Washing and Packing Spinach

Overall Paper Chain Pots make spinach a much more farmer-friendly crop.

Time savings, ease of transplanting, and high germination rates are some of the reasons why spinach is one of the most popular market garden crops grown in paperpots.

Get started growing spinach on your farm using a Paperpot Transplanter and download the Growers Notes below.


If you have any questions, please reach out or 877.850.1555.