I think Mother Nature is very creative when she paints the stalks of Swiss Chard in her cherry bright palette. High in Vitamin K (the only vitamin produced within the body but not stored so 25% of it needs to come from our food) it contains over 700% of our RDA…discover how I grow mine!
|PARTS YOU CAN EAT:||Leaf & stalks|
|SOWING SEASON:||Spring, Summer & Autumn – see sowing chart|
|SOIL pH:||pH 6 – 7|
|HOW MANY:||5 -10 plants per 4 people|
|PLANT AGAIN:||Every 12 – 16 weeks in growing season|
|SEED SPACING:||Plant 20cm apart|
|GERMINATION:||7 – 12 Days|
|HARVEST:||8 – 12 weeks|
|STORE:||Refrigerate or freeze|
|COMPANION PLANTS:||Lettuce, brassicas, kohlrabi, onions|
|HEIRLOOM SEED:||Rainbow Chard|
GROW SWISS CHARD IN 3 EASY STEPS…
Swiss Chard (commonly confused with spinach) is a member of the beet family and I think it is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They can be grown throughout the year but winter is least favourable. I have found they are perfect for container gardening and small gardens.
1 – SOIL RECIPE: As Swiss Chard grows & produces over a long period, it is important to prepare the soil well. I dig in as much compost & well rotted manure as possible as well as add an organic pre-planting fertilizer (like Vita-Veg).
2 – HOW TO PLANT: Swiss Chard is actually a cluster of 4-6 seeds like with Beetroot & it is easy to grow from seed. I plant my seeds about 20cm apart, 6cm deep and use a planting line to create nice straight rows. To start, I plant about 8 – 12 plants & add successive plantings every 3 – 4 months.
*TIP: soak seeds overnight to speed up germination period which is 7 – 12 days.
3 – HARVEST: Regular watering & high nitrogen fertilizer (like Vita-Green added every 3 – 4 weeks) will ensure quick growth & good leaf production. I harvest every 7 – 10 days by picking the outer leaves from a few different plants with a sharp downward twist, leaving 4-5 leaves on each plant. I harvest leaves for 3 – 4 months until they flower & go to seed.
4 – HOW TO EAT: I don’t let leaves grow for too long before harvesting as they turn bitter. I like to use baby leaves in a salad & bigger ones in stir-fries, soups or as wraps to steam food. Sometimes I chop young stems into a salad to add colour and crunch. When stri-frying older leaves I chop stems out and cook first before slicing & adding leaves.
5 – SEED & COMPANION PLANTING: I have discovered beautiful varieties of Swiss Chard that cheer up my garden like the delightful orange stemmed variety ‘Orange Fantasia‘, the lipstick red ‘Rhubarb‘ or my personal favorite, bright pink ‘Magenta Sunset‘. Swiss Chard is not bothered by many pests & provides green leaves almost year round (even through winter). They are moderate feeders & grow well with most plants.
GOOD COMPANIONS: Lettuce, brassicas, kohlrabi, onions
BAD COMPANIONS: Beetroot, spinach, pole beans