On top of that, if you like having edibles that are ripe for the picking all over your yard, but you don’t want to offend any neighbors or the HOA, Swiss chard is your plant.Plant them as a leafy centerpiece with some low-growing edible flowers or a few trailing herbs, and you have a stunning container with ornamental appeal that no one will suspect doubles as part of your kitchen garden.However, you don’t want the container to tip over or crowd those shallow roots, so make sure it’s at least 12 inches wide as well.Terra cotta tends to dry out a little bit faster than cement or plastic, so you’ll need to be more attentive with watering if you select it.You could always use a drip irrigation system or self-watering planter if you aren’t perfect at checking on your patio plants (something I’m guilty of!If you want to take your plants indoors in advance of the winter, during hot summer conditions, or move your pots to follow the sun, you’ll need to be sure you can lift them.Whatever you choose, it should have plenty of drainage holes in the bottom to ensure that the roots don’t get waterlogged.If you don’t have either of these, you can use a colander to shower your plants with fine droplets of water, or a spray bottle.If you’ve purchased nursery starts, fill your pot with soil and make a hole the depth and twice the width of the container that the plant came in.If you like the idea of creating a collection of plants in your selected container, put chard with friends that have the same growing requirements, such as kale, chives, marigolds, lavender, or mint.For an edible ornamental display, try putting Swiss chard in the center of the pot with small nasturtiums and some sweet alyssum on the outside.I won’t lie, Swiss chard will tolerate some abuse, but don’t let that turn you into a neglectful plant parent.Indoors, the care requirements are the same, though you’ll be entirely in charge of making sure your Swiss chard gets enough water.Plants also need at least four hours of direct sunlight or illumination provided by a supplemental grow light each day to thrive.Once the first hard frost arrives, you can harvest the entire plant, or bring your pot indoors to overwinter.If you want to grow chard microgreens in a container, soak the seeds in cold water for 24 hours before planting to help speed up germination.Your goal is to create a miniature greenhouse effect to help keep the moisture levels steady until germination.Check the seeds every few days and add water with a spray bottle if it looks like the soil is drying out.Swiss chard isn’t too troubled by pests or diseases, but here are a few things to watch out for when you’re tending to your crop.Leaf miners are one of those pests that mostly do cosmetic damage, but when your goal is to eat the foliage, that kind of destruction can be devastating.These pests chew tunnels into the leaves of your plant, which is unsightly (and kind of gross, if you bite into a leaf and imagine the little wigglers once crawling inside).You can place netting over your containers in the spring and early summer when the pests emerge and start to feed, or you can keep your plants indoors.Swiss chard prefers cooler temperatures, so once the thermometer climbs up past 75°F or drops below freezing, your plants may bolt.If things heat up in an unexpected heatwave, some afternoon shade will go a long way towards extending the life of your plant.It’s a sad fact that many plants grown indoors are often attacked by aphids and spider mites.These tiny insects suck the sap out of your plant and leave a sweet residue called honeydew behind.I like to stick my container in the bathtub and use the shower head to blast my chard leaves to knock the bugs loose. .
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 Grow Chard from Seed
If you want to grow chard for harvest in winter, plant it under the cover of a plastic hoop tunnel or cold frame.Direct-sow chard seeds in the garden 5 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost; chard can be started indoors or in a plastic tunnel or cold frame 10 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring.Chard can tolerate light frosts in the spring and moderate freezes in the fall.Avoid planting chard where beets, spinach, or orach has recently grown.12-10 weeks before the last frost in spring: sow seed in a plastic tunnel or cold frame.5-3 weeks before the last frost in spring: direct-sow seed in the garden; minimum soil temperature is 40°F.8-6 weeks before the first frost in fall: direct sow in a plastic tunnel or cold frame for winter harvest.‘Bright Lights’ is delicious eating, the leaves have vivid reds and yellows.‘Fordhook Giant’ is a good grower with dark leaves and white ribs. .
5 Swiss chard growing tips to yield a delicious harvest
Read on to find out more about Swiss chard, how to grow it, and ways to cook and eat this attractive and nutritious plant.In ancient times, Swiss chard was actually used as a medicine to heal ailments like allergies, constipation, and general pain.Now that we know more about this underrated plant, let’s dive into how you can successfully grow tasty Swiss chard in your backyard garden.Swiss chard loves sunshine, and while it can survive in partial shade, you’re likely to have more success if you can find a section of your garden that gets full sun almost all day long.Nothing will kill a plant faster than “wet feet.” If you aren’t sure if the soil is dry enough, stick your fingers into the ground and feel for yourself.Once your Swiss chard plants have reached 9 to 12 inches in height, you can begin to harvest the outer leaves.The most popular and delicious way to eat it is sautéed with garlic and onions as a healthy green side to accompany chicken or any other protein.Just be sure to remove the stalk and veins if you’ll be eating it raw to avoid the bitter flavor those hold.While Swiss chard might not get as much publicity and attention as the famous spinach and kale, it’s just as good for you and just as easy to grow.Introduce this lovely plant into your life and benefit from its stunningly colored leaves as well as its natural healing properties. .
How to Grow Swiss Chard in Containers – Bountiful Gardener
Swiss chard is a light to moderate feeder and only needs an all-purpose fertilizer or one higher in nitrogen to support leafy growth.Growing Swiss chard in containers means you can control the soil or potting mix you use.For example, Swiss chard is frost hardy down to 15°F (-10°C), but growth significantly slows down in cold weather, so you can put the containers near a south-facing wall of your home or make a mini greenhouse with a plastic bag or jug to keep your chard growing when it gets too cold.At the same time, when the weather gets scorching hot, you can move your container to a partial shade area to give your chard some relief and maintain good flavor.Another benefit, especially if you’re older, is that it’s also easier to pick and harvest regularly compared to having to get down and strain your back or your knees.If you’re not using a potting mix or seed-starting mix with nutrients added, then wait until your sprouts get their first true leaves after the first two seed leaves (dicotyledons), and apply a very weak liquid fertilizer (follow your fertilizer’s instructions and then dilute with at least four parts of water) to give your tiny Swiss chard sprouts some nutrients.Once your Swiss chard seedlings have at least two or three true leaves, you can safely transplant them into their final container.Make sure the container has drainage holes and is filled with a rich potting mix, not garden soil.I’ve grown Swiss chard on the east side of a fence, getting sun for a little more than half the day, without any problems.To boost growth and maximize yield, give a balanced or higher nitrogen liquid fertilizer every 7-14 days.Whether you’re growing for the leaf, the stalk, or both, treat Swiss chard like other leafy greens and harvest only the outside mature leaves using the cut-and-come-again method.One note on flavor: Swiss chard, like other leafy greens, do tend to taste best in the cooler months of the spring and fall.In the hot summer months the leaves may taste slightly bitter and the stalks may get a stronger beet-like earthy flavor. .
Leafminers in Swiss Chard: Identify & Control Them Organically
While the tiny adult flies are very difficult to spot and identify, the squiggly lines their larvae leave behind are hard to miss.Thankfully, a leafminer infestation typically won’t outright kill a chard plant, but it can affect the visual appeal of this vegetable and limit your harvest.If the population of leafminers on your chard crop is prolific and causing substantial damage that’s cutting into your bottom line, it’s time to take additional measures.And, since Swiss chard doesn’t require pollination prior to harvest, the cover can be left in place all season long.Sweet alyssum, dill and fennel are three great plants to interplant with Swiss chard to reduce leafminers organically.This brings newly overwintering leafminer pupae to the surface and exposes them to predators such as birds and ground beetles. .