Related to beets, this nutrient-dense, delicious, versatile vegetable doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention as popular greens such as spinach and kale.An excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, K, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium—it’s among the healthiest foods you can eat.Fun fact: Swiss chard is a Mediterranean plant and not actually native to Switzerland, as you might expect.This variety is highly productive and resists bolting, resulting in a longer growing season.This variety is highly productive and resists bolting, resulting in a longer growing season.Rhubarb chard has deep-green, crinkly leaves with bright crimson stalks that contain phyto-nutrients called betalains.But it’s still considered a cool season crop with an optimal growing temperature of 50–70°, as these conditions produce the sweetest, most tender leaves.If you’re growing in warmer temperatures, consider planting Swiss chard where it will receive afternoon shade.Because Swiss chard grows tall, we recommend planting it in the top section of your Tower Garden.Aphids are small insects that typically feed on young plant growth, causing it to appear puckered or deformed.are small insects that typically feed on young plant growth, causing it to appear puckered or deformed.Downy mildew looks like fine white cotton or frosting and often infects lower plant leaves first.As the disease progresses, spots enlarge, ultimately resulting in small holes before leaves turn brown and die.Tower Tip: Learn how you can naturally beat bad bugs and prevent plant diseases.Swiss chard leaves make a convincing spinach substitute, as the stalks do for asparagus or celery.The healthy green is delicious simply sautéed with lemon juice and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. .

How to Harvest and Store Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is ready for picking 30 days after sowing if you want baby leaves.Grow chard for late spring and early summer harvest in cold-winter regions.Swiss chard holds up well against warm temperatures, unlike other leafy greens.Store Swiss chard cold and moist, 32°-40°F (0°-5°C) and 95 percent relative humidity.Place chard in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section.Chard that is stored too cold or too long will develop brown spots on the midrib and the leaves will wilt and yellow. .

Chard : From Seeds To Harvest

To harvest the crop even earlier, start the seeds indoors and move outdoors when nighttime temperatures are no lower than 28 degrees.Mulch with grass clippings or compost to add extra nutrients to the plant’s growth, and water moderately. .

Spinach Planting & Spinach Growing

This plant food works in tandem with great soil to help you achieve the best possible spinach harvest.In the spring, plants will grow tall and bloom (called bolting) as soon as the days are longer than 14 hours.Our variety is slow to bolt, which is a real bonus for gardeners who don’t have the luxury of long stretches of mild weather. .

When & How To Harvest Chard – Swiss Chard Harvesting Tips

As a big fan of leafy green vegetables, I love that chard has incredibly long harvest season.Since I grow it primarily for young and tender leaves (they make a great salad when mixed with other leafy greens such as arugula, spinach or lettuce), I first harvest it only six weeks after sowing it.I pinched of its biggest three leaves and left the rest so the plant could regrow itself and give me more harvest.So, instead of discarding the thinnings, we actually eat them as our first harvest and thus feed two birds with one scone!As you can see in the bottom part of the picture, I already picked a few leaves and left the rest so the plant could regrow itself.This protects the growing bud inside the plant and enables it to regrow itself much faster than without any leaves at all.Of course, you can harvest it this way at any time, however, I only do it when plants are overcrowded and need to be thinned in order to become even bigger and re(grow) even faster.Now if you are only interested in mature leaves and stalks, you need to wait a bit longer for the harvest.Plant it in March and you can expect to start harvesting full-sized leaves and stems somewhere towards the end of June….At that point, I no longer limit myself to just leaves and start harvesting stalks (stems) as well.Unlike other leafy greens (such as spinach and lettuce), summer heat does not stop it from growing and does not make it bolt either (in its first year).So, as long as you’re picking it regularly, it keeps producing new leaves throughout the whole summer and all the way until first hard freeze, which usually occurs late in autumn or early in winter.If you live in an area where winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing point, then your luck is in.The leaf growth may slow down a bit during cold spells, however, you can continue to harvest it, not only through the winter, but through the entire spring as well….For us, the chard harvesting season usually ends once harsh winter begins.What’s interesting though is that each year, for some reason, a handfull of my chard plants survive the winter.The thing about these winter survivors is they start growing and producing new leaves again – as soon as temperatures outside rise above freezing point.They provide us with fresh produce very early in the spring, in times when growing season is just starting and homegrown vegetables are in short supply.The leaves of winter survivors may be a bit sturdier, but nonetheless edible and full of healthy vitamins and minerals!Chard is one of those leafy greens you can harvest throughout the entire gardening season. .

Grow Swiss Chard

Swiss chard and beets are the same species, and they require a period of overwintering in order to set seeds.Downy mildew can be a problem for Swiss chard when grown close together as baby greens.Birds also enjoy the leaves, but protecting new seedlings under row covers can deter them.Swiss chard can also be harvested in closer plantings as baby greens, cutting the leaves about 3 inches above the soil and returning every week or so.At seed maturity, plants of this species take up a fair amount of garden real estate.Depending on the scale of seed collection, individual seedstalks can be cut or entire plants can be pulled from the garden and moved to a place where they can continue drying.Depending on the percentage of ripe seeds at harvest, 7 to 14 days should be a sufficient drying period.Small lots and cut branches can be processed by running a gloved hand along the length of the stalk with a container placed underneath to catch dislodged seeds; stalks should be discarded once they are stripped of seeds.Larger lots and whole plants can be placed in large tubs or on tarps and treaded upon.When stored under cool, dry conditions, beet seeds can be expected to remain viable for 5 years. .

When to Harvest Fruit and Vegetables from the Garden

They’re still good later, but they have hit their peak ripeness and their flavor will start to deteriorate.If the crop is ripe but doesn’t easy pull by hand (such as eggplant), use pruning shears.Produce will stay crisp and store longer, and not become limp from midday heat.This is especially important for leafy greens like lettuce, chard and fresh herbs such as parsley and basil.It also applies to crisp fruiting vegetables like peas, and anything in the cabbage family like broccoli and radishes.The next best time to harvest is in the evening after the heat of the late afternoon sun has begun to wane.Click on the linked crops below to go straight to the plant page with growing and harvesting tips!Green bracts (“leaves” of the bud) are not wilted and squeak if gently squeezed.Look for tightly closed tips and firm yet tender stalks (whether thick or thin).Standard varieties of snap beans are ready to be harvested when they are as thick as a pencil and before the seeds bulge and become visible through the pods.When bean pods turn white or yellow, feed them to the pigs or the compost pile.Beets should have smooth, firm flesh, show a rich color, and have healthy green leaves (not wilted).If you are eating beets for their greens, they can be harvested any time once their leaves are 4 to 6 inches long.For best flavor in hot weather, keep beets well watered and don’t leave them in the ground so long that they become pithy or woody.Cut the plant about halfway down the stalk to encourage the continual production of side shoots.If your carrot tops break off when you pull them, try loosening the soil first with a digging fork.Ther kernels should be plump and a light milky liquid should ooze out; if it contains water, looks too creamy, or is dry, it’s not good.For best results, pick and shuck corn ears close to the time you want to eat it (or within 72 hours).Look for richly dark glossy green skin and a heavy, firm body and small seeds.Don’t wait too long – bigger is not better in cukes — they’ll taste seedy and bitter.Harvest at 4 to 6 inches in diameter when the skin of the fruit is glossy, smooth, shiny, and unwrinkled.They taste most delicate and least bitter when they are still young, before the skins toughen and the seeds mature and darken inside.If the eggplant’s color is faded or they have lost their gloss, they are overripe and may taste bitter.Harvest mature kale leaves when they are the size of your hand or a little bit bigger.It’s a good idea to hill up the soil around the leek’s base for a longer white section.With leaf lettuce, pick any time, but the leaves are much more tender and flavorful when they are less than five inches long.So, make successive sowings every few weeks for a constant supply of tender young leaves.Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt if your skin gets irritated from okra’s stiff leaf hairs.Pick peas in the morning at least every other day for maximum harvest and crispest texture.Take care when picking peppers; use pruning shears or a sharp knife so you don’t break the stems.Potatoes should have a firm body and be heavy for size, without any black or soft spots, sprouts, wrinkles, or greenish tinge.The skin should be full (non-glossy), firm, and rich in color without blemishes or cracks or soft spots.Keep in mind that pumpkins need to cure in the sunshine for 10 days (or a warm, dry room).It will keep growing for another cutting, but you must harvest before the spinach bolts (sending up a flower stem).Spinach that was left too long in the ground will have oversize leaves and taste bitter.The longer the fruits remain on the vine, the tougher on the outside, seedier and more watery they become on the inside.They should feel firm, heavy for size, and show a bright and healthy skin as well as stem.Avoid dull or hard skin, an oversize body, soft spots, blemishes, and a dry stem.If harvesting, dig when the vines turn yellow and take care to avoid broken roots and bruises.Sweet potatoes need to cure in a warm (80°F to 90°F), shady, well-ventilated place for about 10 days to bring out their flavor and also to bake well.Cured sweet potatoes will keep for up to 6 months when stored at around 60°F with high humidity; a basement is often ideal.The plant will keep producing leaves through the summer, and it can also overwinter in mild areas where the ground does not freeze hard.The perfect tomato for picking will be very rich in color with no trace of green, regardless of size, as well as slightly firm—not hard—when gently squeezed.They have a firm body, smooth skin, rich color, and crisp leaves that are very green.On the tree, the stem should part readily from the branch when the fruit is cupped in the palm of your hand and given a slight twist around, then up.Look for the plump berries with a uniform black, shiny color with a hint of dullness.Look for the plump, firm berries with a uniform dark blue color with powdery white coating (called bloom).The perfect cantaloupe is heavy, has a fragrant aroma on the blossom end, and makes a hollow sound when thumped.When you harvest melons, leave about an inch of stem attached to fruit to keep it from rotting unless you plan to eat immediately.Look for plump, firm fruit with a glossy, uniform, dark color for the variety and a fragrant aroma.Figs grow perpendicularly out of the branch and will hang down slightly when they are ready to be harvested.Wear gloves and long sleeves while picking figs, as the tree’s sap can irritate the skin.However, start with lemons that are heavy for their size and show a bright yellow color.At their peak, peaches have a golden color and a body that yields easily when gently squeezed.Ripe fruits will come off the tree easily; just give them a slight twist.The berry will be fragrant, plump, fairly firm (not mushy), and show a bright, uniform color.Sometimes it can be hard to know when to harvest a watermelon because they remain firmly attached to the vine even when they’re ripe.The skin should have a dull green cast (not shiny) and be very hard – difficult to pierce with a fingernail. .

How to Harvest Beets

Fire engine red, golden yellow, deep purple, or candy cane striped, their range of colors and flavors never ceases to amaze me.No matter the variety, just a few slices of these juicy, vibrant roots can transform any ho-hum dish into an extravagant delicacy.Figuring out when to harvest your beets depends on a few factors, including the variety, the time of year they were planted, and the average temperature where they are growing.While some people argue that the smaller roots have more flavor and juiciness, others prefer to allow them to reach a larger size before picking.Allowing them to grow a bit larger is certainly fine, but be warned that if you wait too long to harvest, they may become fibrous, soft, or wrinkled, and will eventually start to lose some of their succulent flavor.If the greens are beginning to look wilted – and you know the crop is near its time to harvest – the root is likely passing its prime and should be picked right away.When you have decided it’s time to harvest, use a garden fork or knife to gently loosen the soil around each plant, being careful not to accidentally slice into any of the roots.Tip: If you water your crop a couple of days before you plan to harvest, it will help the plants to come out of the soil more easily.It is best to only wash beetroots with water right before you plan to use them, as excess moisture will encourage faster rotting.Prepare your storage crate by pouring some sand or sawdust on the bottom and layer your beets on top.Once chopped or sliced to the desired size, spread them out on a baking tray and flash freeze them, to prevent them from sticking together.Tip: Vacuum sealing is a great way to prevent freezer burn and extend storage life.The liquid produced by this ferment is known as kvass, a healthy beet juice tonic popular in Russia and Eastern Europe for boosting the immune system.As the beets stew in a brine of water and salt, beneficial bacteria begin to grow and multiply.These healthy bacteria consume the natural sugars in the beets, producing lactic and acetic acid, which in turn preserves the vegetables.These healthy probiotics, similar to those found in yogurt, create a delicious pickled condiment that will populate your gut with beneficial microbes.Pour just enough brine into the crock or jar, cover the vegetables completely, and place a weight on top.Tighten the lid and keep your crock or jar at room temperature in a dark spot in the kitchen for about a week or so, or until bubbles to appear on the surface.You want to examine it periodically to make sure the veggies are still covered in liquid, and that there is nothing moldy or funky growing on top.If a white film appears on top of the ferment, do not fear – it is most likely just yeast and poses no health risk.The length of time this can take will vary depending on the ambient temperature and brine concentration, but you can expect the process to take approximately 7-10 days.It has a salty, slightly sour flavor and can also be used as a base for making borscht, the traditional Eastern European soup.The most wonderful things about beets is that they can be eaten in such a huge variety of different ways, each bringing out unique texture and flavor profiles of the vegetable.One of the most popular dishes made from beets is borscht, the deep red, hearty Eastern European soup – that’s often more like a stew – traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve and Easter.The red roots give it the earthy color and flavor, and its characteristic slightly sour undertones come from the use of beet kvass as a base.Roast them to bring out their juicy sweetness, ferment them for a hint of sourness, or eat them raw for a delightful crunch.A bit easier and less time consuming to prepare than a fermented version, our sister site, Foodal has a wonderful recipe for quick-pickled beets and turnips.Kick off a hearty dinner with this light and fresh green salad featuring arugula, beets, and goat cheese.Incredibly healthy, refreshing, and delicious, this recipe from Foodal will surely provide an energetic start to your day. .

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