Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Growing Swiss Chard from Seed

Swiss Chard (for me) is kind of like Basil.  It's easy to grow and you can trim of few leaves at a time or chop off the entire thing to use at once.  
I prefer to trim off a few leaves.
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My favorites:

50-60 days. (Beta vulgaris) This chard originated in Australia. A beautiful chard; its colors are brilliant (pink, yellow, orange, red and white).
Very mild ornamental. Pretty enough to plant in the flower garden

and so delicious! 

60 days. Succulent celery-like stalks support large, dark green, 
very savoyed, fleshy leaves.
Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head. 

Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.

60 days.  Very attractive and uniform red chard. 
A wonderful, prolific and hardy variety, this chard has great flavor
 and is perfect for marketing.
Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head.
Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.

First, each Swiss Chard seed may actually contain several seeds.  It's difficult to tell until they actually sprout.  Chard can be grown both as an ornamental and a food source.  It grows well in containers as well as in-ground.  

Swiss chard grows best in rich, moist soil with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Plant in fertile soil because plants should grow fast to produce tender leaves. Work nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure into the ground before planting.

I don't soak chard seeds for 24 hours (like I do most seeds) but I do soak them for about 15 minutes before I plant them in Peat Pellets.  With my garden at the moment in a bit of transition I find it easier to transplant Swiss Chard seedlings.  If you plan to direct-sow, sow seeds 1/2-inch deep and a few inches apart directly in the garden when the soil is at least 50°F.
 
Chard in Peat Pellets

If you plan to harvest whole plants, make succession plantings through late summer.  The time from planting to harvest is 55 to 65 days. Start harvesting chard when the outside leaves are three inches long or let them grow to 8-10 inches.

Mulch your plants with compost and/or grass clippings to add nutrients and discourage weeds, and use a natural fertilizer such as kelp or manure tea (a must for container growing). Provide moderate, even watering.  

I have had very little pest problems with Swiss Chard.  Occasionally I get a slug or snail but with Companion planting a bit of kelp meal the grow huge!  Swiss chard is a hardy, leafy green.  
Container with Chard, Beets and Lettuce
 Sharing this gardening tutorial at Tuesdays with a Twist , The HomeAcre Hop and HERE

15 comments:

Joy said...

Oh, I LOVE swiss chard!! Thanks for all the tips! :)

The photography is beautiful!

Joy @ Yesterfood.blogspot.com

Natashalh said...

I love growing chard and I've had great success with it! I wish I had the chance to grow some this year, but I won't have the opportunity.

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing about this must grow green for the summer. It's our go to vegetable green that is able to withstand summer's hot temps. and pests. Thanks for the tips as well...starting my seeds for this year's harvest today!

Kim said...

I am so honored that you featured my post!!!! Thank you so much!!!

Mums make lists said...

Great tips!

I would love for you to link up this - and your other gardening posts - at the Empty Your Archive link party. We have a special focus this week on gardening, Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

Enzie Shahmiri said...

Great tips! Thank you.

D Stepp said...

Wow...it is pretty enough for a flower garden! I've never had it in the garden before but I might now! Thanks so much for sharing at the Rock ‘N Share linky party. Hope to see you again soon! Blessings, D@TheShadyPorch

Kim Vealey said...

I love Swiss Chard...I think it's highly underrated. My hubs used to work for a seed company - benefits & privileges were free seeds!! I always asked for this when available.
Stopping by from Katherine's Corner :o)

Sparkling said...

I mastered growing chard a couple of years ago and I have a couple of plants that have literally survived for a couple of years! This is my favorite time of year, when the leaves and stems are small and nothing as eaten them yet! I'm also excited that I know the starts well enough that I can grow them in regular pots and not was the little seed starters for them. K-ster hates the stems, even when I cook them well because he says they are like wood, but I love them and their crunchiness! If I pick them young enough, I even eat them raw in salads!

Jamie Sherman said...

I don't think I have ever eaten Swiss Chard - but it looks so colorful! Thanks so much for joining us at last week's All my Bloggy Friends .... We look forward to seeing what you share this week!

Mums make lists said...

Just popping over to let you know I've featured you at this week's Empty Your Archive party, Alice x

Mums make lists said...

Just popping over to let you know I've featured you at this week's Empty Your Archive party, Alice x

Black Fox Homestead said...

We love to grow Swiss chard. We've done the five color silver beet and fordhook giant variety. We also enjoy the rhubarb with the red veins. Thank you for sharing this post at the HomeAcre Hop! Look forward to having you back again tomorrow:
http://blackfoxhomestead.com/the-homeacre-hop/

Kathy Moody said...

What a great post with awesome tips! You've inspired me to grow my own! Thank you so much for sharing with us at A Bouquet of Talent this week. So thrilled to have you share with us. Happy Friday!!
Hugs
Kathy

Unknown said...

I didn't see any real information. How deep do you plant or at what point do you transplant seedlings or peat pellets? Do you plant them like tomatoes? or should the soil match the ground level of the sprout? Do you have any idea how AWFUL cotton seed meal is. ????