Growing Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard (Beta Vulgaris) , also known as, Beet Swiss Chard, or Seakale beet, is a leaf vegetable which will crop from mid summer to late fall. In areas with mild winters Swiss Chard will re-emerge to produce an early spring crops and in some areas can be grown as a fall/winter garden crop. Swiss Chard produces huge, multicolored leaves, with a mild flavor. Generally eaten as a cooked green, but can be eaten fresh.

Maturity

  • 45 or more days after planting

Frost Tolerance

  • Swiss Chard will tolerate light frosts

Heat Tolerance

  • Swiss Chard will tolerate some summer heat especially in northern areas

Substitutions

  • Swiss Chard may be substituted in recipes for spinach or seakale.

Preparing The Soil

Swiss chard is not finicky about the soil or position in which it is grown. It will grow in light sandy soil, as well as, in heavy clay. Similar to other beets, although this is one grown for its leaves, Swiss chard needs lyme and a soil pH 6.5 to 6.8. Swiss chard can be sown in partial shade or in the sun, but any late sewing under close cloches, to get a winter crop, should be in a sunny warm part of the garden.

Sow outdoors

Plant Swiss chard outdoor as soon the ground can be worked. Place one seed every 3 inches and cover firmly with about half to three quarters of an inch of soil. when plants get about 3 inches tall, thin Swiss chard plant to about 6 inches apart. The Fed Swiss chard plants can be eaten as fresh greens. Swiss chard plan should be He plans well mulched and the soil kept moist.

Approximate outdoor planting ranges

  • Garden hardiness zone three and four – May through June
  • Garden hardiness zone five and six – April through July
  • Garden hardiness zone seven and eight – spring: March through May and fall: August
  • Garden hardiness zone nine, ten, and eleven– spring: February through May and fall: August through september

Days to germination

  • 7 to 10 days

Days to harvest

  • 50 to 60 days

Planting depth

  • 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch

Spacing

  • Rows approximately 20 inches apart with approximately 6 inches between plants in each row.

Harvesting

While twisting leaves off is usually recommended, I personally choose to use a good sharp knife to make a controlled clean cut. Either way swiss chard harvested
from the outside edges of the plant working inward regularly once several leaves are large enough to use. Swiss chard plants will regrow when cut back to no lower than 3 inches and a few leaves are remain to help the plant generate energy.