Fortunately, it is easy to grow in the ground or in containers—especially when you begin with strong, vigorous Bonnie Plants® Swiss chard starter plants—and is one of the few greens that tolerates both cool weather and heat.It will linger in the spring garden much longer than mustard, turnips, arugula, or other greens with the tendency to bolt.Get your growing season off to a great start by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil.Plants are generally problem free but may be attacked by aphids, mites, or caterpillars that chew holes in the leaves.For advice on how to handle pests and diseases in the garden, contact your local Extension agency.Chop large leaves to cook down like spinach, or use in casseroles, soups, and pasta.In areas that never experience a hard freeze, Swiss chard sometimes behaves like a perennial, living for several years.Whole harvested leaves will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks in a loose plastic bag or sealed container.Swiss chard is a neat plant that grows well among other vegetables as shown in this raised planter at Juniper Front Community Garden in San Diego.Harvest large leaves by cutting them from the outer part of the plant at the base of their stems. .
How Do I Grow Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that’s renowned for its nutritional value, and it’s popular with gardeners because it is so easy to grow.You can also download my How Do I Grow Swiss Chard one-sheet and keep the free resource handy for your reference.Also known as silverbeet, spinach beet, leaf beet or simply, chard, Swiss chard is a wonderful addition to soup, dip and baked dishes, and it can be sauteed in oil with garlic for a side or a warm salad.For earlier harvests, Swiss chard may be started indoors three to four weeks before the last frost date.The air movement will prevent damping off disease, a fungus that is fatal to newly sprouted seedlings.Hardening off is the process of gradually introducing plants to the outdoor environment and the intensity of the sun.Swiss chard performs best in full sun but will also tolerate a little shade.The soil should be well drained and amended with plenty of organic matter, namely compost.Space the seeds or seedlings out so that the plants will not touch one another once they have reached full size.Having grown this variety for years, I’m always amazed at how carefree and beautiful it is in the garden and on the plate.It’s like a painting with all the range of stem colors from red, orange, pink, yellow and white, all in one crop.The leaves are ready to harvest in 23 to 35 days from transplanting, and the plants have a good degree of disease resistance.Perpetual is an open-pollinated chard that has tasty, smooth leaves that taste like spinach and are ready to harvest in 50 days.Rhubard is a chard variety that is so named because it has thick red stalks like rhubarb.Like most vegetables, Swiss chard requires an inch of water per week.A drip irrigation system works well to ensure Swiss chard gets the moisture it needs for consistent growth.Just make sure that if using a fish fertilzer on chard that the first number in the NPK ratio is the highest.Swiss chard is largely unbothered by pests and rarely affected by disease.While feeding on plant leaves they excrete honeydew, which attracts ants and other insects.They are easily controlled by knocking them off plants with a sharp stream of water or insecticidal soap.Another strategy is to plant a trap crop of radishes, which flea beetles prefer over most anything else.For a severe infestation, a bait like Sluggo, which contains iron phosphate, is a safe, organic option.Avoid overhead watering that creates a welcoming environment for fungal spores.Read my comprehensive guide Powdery Mildew Prevention & Control for more information.The younger leaves are great in a salad or eaten like beet greens or spinach.Cut the young plants an inch above the ground with sharp scissors or garden shears and they’ll continue to grow over and over.Swiss chard is best enjoyed the same day it was cut, but it can be stored, unwashed, in an unsealed plastic bag for up to a week.Sign up to receive gardening resources, eBooks and email updates on the joegardener podcast and more.None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here.The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship.At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Wild Alaskan Seafood Box and TerraThrive. .
How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a member of the beet family grown for its rosette of large, crinkly green leaves on thick red, white, or rainbow stalks.Plants can grow to 16 inches tall and leaves and stalks can be harvested several times over the course of a season on a cut-and-come-again schedule.Swiss chard grows best in the cooler time of the year.Sow chard in the garden 2 to 4 weeks after all frost has passed in spring.To get an early start, sow Swiss chard indoors as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the average last frost date in spring for transplanting out when plants are 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) tall.Sow chard in the garden 2 to 4 weeks after all frost has passed in spring.To get an early start, sow chard indoors as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the average last frost date in spring for transplanting out when plants are 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) tall.Once established Swiss chard will tolerate heat and frost.Cut the weaker seedlings off at the soil level with small scissors.In larger containers, set chard in wide rows on 8-inch (20cm) centers.Keep Swiss chard planting bed evenly moist for quick, tender growth.Good companion plants for Swiss chard include chicory, garlic, leeks, mustard, onions.Avoid growing Swiss chard with legumes, potatoes, or tomatoes.Control aphids by pinching out the affected leaves or spray them away with a blast of water.Harvest Swiss chard on a cut-and-come-again schedule; remove a few outside leaves at a time. .
How to Grow Swiss Chard
wide Sun Exposure Full, partial Soil Type Rich, moist, well-drained Soil pH Slightly acidic (6 to 6.4) Bloom Time Summer Flower Color Yellow Hardiness Zones 6–10 as biennial, 3–10 as annual (USDA) Native Area Mediterranean.Direct sow seeds outdoors about two weeks before your projected last spring frost date.This plant likes an organically rich soil with good drainage.It can take a light frost, but you will lose your plants if the temperature dips below freezing for more than a brief period.Humidity typically isn't an issue as long as its moisture needs are being met and there's good air circulation around the plants.A mid-season side dressing of compost or manure will keep chard plants fed.To enjoy your harvest, you can chop it up in salad or lightly cook it as a wonderful side dish.Chard also makes a hearty replacement for spinach, and the stems can be grilled or roasted in place of asparagus.The pot doesn’t have to be especially deep, as the plants have pretty shallow roots.Use a quality organic potting mix, and keep the soil lightly moist and never waterlogged.Slugs will also chomp on chard; they'll put holes in the leaves and tunnel into the ribs.Providing good airflow and removing affected leaves will help to keep this disease to a minimum. .
All About Swiss Chard
It is often grown as a summer substitute for spinach because of its tolerance for warm temperatures.It also withstands cool temperatures and can be grown from early spring right up to frost.Swiss chard prefers rich, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade.Plants are rarely bothered by pests and diseases and grow easily. .
Chard is a biennial plant, meaning it has a two year life cycle, but it is cultivated as an annual in the vegetable garden and harvested in its first season of growth.Chard provides plenty of nutrition and good taste, along with more heat tolerance than many kinds of greens, so it’s a popular choice for gardeners across the county.Some varieties of chard have colorful stems that contrast with its broad green leaves, making it a great choice for edible landscaping, where edible plants are combined with ornamental ones to add beauty and interest to the landscape instead of relegating them to a strictly utilitarian vegetable bed.In warm climates, light shade during the hottest part of the day is helpful in extending the spring harvest season.Except in the warmest areas, make succession plantings every few weeks up until about 2 months before your average fall frost date.In the warmest parts of the country, make early spring and late summer to fall sowings.Seedlings sprout in clusters; so no matter how carefully you space out the seeds at planting time, you’ll still need to do some thinning.Make sure plants have a consistent supply of moisture throughout the growing season, especially when the weather turns warm.Adult flies lay eggs in leaves that hatch out into larvae that feed within the leaf tissue, creating visible winding tunnels. .
How to Grow Swiss Chard from seed – West Coast Seeds
They grow easily and well in our climate and stand in the garden for many months, giving a long harvest from one planting.Continue reading below for some useful tips on how to grow Swiss chard from seed.Swiss chard prefers loose, deep, and fertile soil that is rich in organic matter.Plenty of consistent moisture is required, especially as plants grow larger.It grows best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade in summer.A liquid fertilizer or compost tea applied twice during summer will keep chard growing well.For salad mix, seed more densely and cut as baby leaves. .