How To Cultivate, Grow, And Harvest Swiss Chard 

Swiss Chard

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

Find out how to cultivate Chard, also known as Swiss Chard, a member of the beet family. It functions admirably in both cold and warm climates. It is a nutritional powerhouse rich in various vitamins, including A, C, and K, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. In addition to that, the kaleidoscope of hues is stunning! Check out our comprehensive guide to growing Chard for advice on everything from planting to harvesting.

Concerning Swiss Chard

Like beets, Chard is another vegetable that can have its stems and leaves consumed either cooked or raw. Because Swiss Chard overgrows, ensure enough space in the garden bed for it. It has a subtle flavor and can be used to enhance the nutritional value and aesthetic appeal of various dishes, including salads, pasta, pizzas, quiches, sandwiches, and more.

Although it is more commonly known as a crop cultivated during the chilly seasons (spring and fall) because it grows more swiftly and efficiently during those seasons, Chard can survive in much hotter temperatures. Even though its development may slow down over the summer, Chard is an excellent salad green to plant when the weather is too hot for the others because it can withstand higher temperatures for longer.

Swiss Chard

Chard is considered a "superfood" because of its high levels of vitamins A, C, and K. It does not have the bitter flavor of many other greens. If you dislike spinach or kale, you can use it as an excellent substitute for those superfoods because it does not have that bitter taste.

In addition to all its other benefits as a garden food, Chard is an excellent edible ornamental plant with various hues that may be mixed with landscaping or grown in containers. Chard could even be used as a decorative element in a vase or arrangement, alone or in combination with other flowers. Why should the flowers get all of the attention?

Planting

Swiss Chard

Although it may survive in shaded areas, Chard thrives in bright sunlight. It grows best in areas with slightly rich soil, good drainage, and a pH range from 6.0 to 7.0. (slightly acidic to neutral). To increase the fertility of the ground, put compost and aged manure into the soil before planting.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Swiss Chard?

  • Plant chard seeds two to three weeks before the last spring frost date to prepare them for spring harvest.
  • Planting chard seeds around forty days before the first fall frost will result in a crop that can be harvested in the autumn. (Many kinds can hold up against a slight frost.)
  • Before planting, seeds should be soaked in water for twenty-four hours to hasten germination.
  • How to Start a Swiss Chard Garden
  • When ready to plant, you should fertilize the area using 5-10-10 fertilizers.
  • Plant the seeds at a depth of 0.5 to 1 inch, 2 to 6 inches apart, and 18 inches between rows.
  • Continue planting seeds at intervals of ten days throughout the next month.

Growing

Swiss Chard

  • When the plants are three to four inches tall, thin them out, so they are spaced four to six inches apart, or between six and twelve inches if the plants are particularly huge.
  • Make sure you don't disrupt the area's plant roots with scissors. You can consume the trimmings of the meat.
  • Suppose you find that your Chard is not growing as large as it should be despite the absence of fertilizer. In that case, you may consider administering a balanced fertilizer around the middle of the growing season.
  • If you water it evenly and consistently, it will grow more successfully. During dry spells that occur during the summer, it is important to water plants frequently.
  • Applying mulch to the plants will help conserve moisture and prevent weed growth.
  • When plants are about a foot tall, cut the leaves back to a height between three and five inches to foster new, tender growth. When chard plants are allowed to become overgrown, the resulting leaves have less flavor.
  • Consume the items you have reduced.
  • "Bright Lights" has dark green leaves arranged on stems of various colors; it is resistant to bolting but has a lower tolerance for cold.
  • "Fordhook Giant" has dark green foliage and white stems and produces compact plants.
  • "Lucullus" has green leaves and white stems and is heat-tolerant.
  • "Peppermint" has green leaves and stems striped with pink and white; it is resistant to bolting and grows well in containers.
  • "Rainbow" refers to various colors, including red, pink, white, yellow, and orange, as well as striped leaves and stems.
  • 'Rhubarb': Dark green foliage, deep-red stalks; sow after the risk of frost has passed, or it may bolt.
  • "Ruby Red" has green leaves and vivid red stems; it should only be sown after all danger of frost has passed. Otherwise, it may bolt.

Harvesting

Harvesting

  • It would be best if you started harvesting the plants when they are between 6 and 8 inches tall, depending on the size of the leaves you want.
  • Remove the outer leaves by cutting them off about 1 1/2 inches above the ground using a sharp knife. Take care not to damage the plant's core. Consume what you've prepared.
  • Harvest the plants regularly to ensure a steady supply of food. When harvesting, use the "cut-and-come-again" strategy, which involves taking the largest and oldest leaves while allowing the younger leaves to continue growing.
  • Lift the plant while leaving the roots in the soil, and transfer it to a container housed in a greenhouse. This will allow the harvest to continue for longer. Keep the temperature at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
  • The Chard may appear limp at first, but it should recover and become firm again.

How To Properly Preserve Swiss Chard

How To Properly Preserve Swiss Chard

After being cleaned, Swiss chard leaves should be placed in perforated plastic bags before being placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

To prepare the leaves for use, run a sharp knife down the ribs to separate them.

The leaves are used as a vegetable source of nutrition. Either prepare them in the same manner as spinach or eat them raw.

You can steam them, roast them, or prepare them in a sauté pan like you would asparagus.

Brilliance And Insights

You probably guessed correctly that the origin of Swiss Chard is in the Mediterranean region of Europe.

Despite popular belief, Chard does not originate from Switzerland at all. It is said that a Swiss botanist was the one who was responsible for identifying the scientific name of Chard, and the moniker "Swiss" just stuck!

Eat more vegetables with leafy greens in them! Find out more about the benefits of going green to your health!

Green Leafy Vegetables Are A Power Food

Green Leafy Vegetables Are A Power Food

There is no green food that is high in calories. In addition, a serving of almost any of the deeply colored ones offers the entirety of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins K and A, the vast majority of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, and a substantial portion of your recommended daily allowance of fiber, B vitamins, and essential minerals.

In comparison to other types of food, leafy greens have a higher nitrate content overall. Recent studies have shown that including dietary nitrate in one's diet can have several positive effects, including a reduction in blood pressure, an improvement in cardiovascular health, and an increase in athletic performance.

But to keep these benefits, you need to consume greens daily. According to a study, the positive effects go away quickly if you don't. Varieties Of Greens That Are Leafy

Green Leafy Vegetables Are A Power Food

I like seeing how many kinds of home-grown veggies I can sneak into a bowl of soup or salad, and sometimes I even make it into a game. A wide assortment of leafy greens is always at the top of my list, including kales, collards, mustards, lettuces, turnips, spinach, arugula, Chard, and beet greens, chicories, escaroles, and cabbages. Kales, collards, mustards, lettuces, turnips, and cabbages round out the list.

My backyard gardens and greenhouse are the sources of these beautiful greens. I gather a variety of wild greens during the growing season, including but not limited to dandelion greens, chickweed, purslane, wild violets, nettles (only when cooked!), and lamb's quarters, and pigweeds. I also count the leafy green herbs I cultivate and use in large quantities, particularly oregano, basil, and sage. Any recipe can benefit from their added complexity, taste, and healthy phytocompounds.

Green Leafy Vegetables Are A Power Food

My leafies are distinct from one another in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hue: Although many come in one or more ( shades plant ) of "green," the color of other leafy crops can range from deep purple and fuchsia to deep crimson and mahogany. This is even though many arrive in one or more shades of "green." Some of them have veins that are red, orange, or yellow.
  • The morphology of the form can be described as round, oval, rhomboid, heart-shaped, ferny, pointed at both ends, etc.
  • The topography might range from curly, heavily frilled, puckered, or dimpled to smooth and flat.
  • The texture is buttery, crunchy, chewy, juicy, yet soft and supple all at the same time.
  • Flavors include sweet, bitter, spicy, savory, and hot enough to make your mouth tingle.
  • There are three groups of greens.

The leafy tops of cultivated plants, more frequently referred to as "greens," belong mostly to one of three large plant families.

Green Leafy Vegetables

  • Brassicaceae: These include the kales and collards, arugula, turnip greens, leaf broccoli, cabbages, and mustards (which have the dozens of gardens that seed catalogs typically call "Asian"—mizuna and any variety ending in "Choi/Choy/soi"). Brassicaceae was formerly known as the Cruciferae because of their cross-shaped flowers.
  • Amaranthaceae: Amaranths with leaves include vegetables like spinach, Swiss Chard, and beets. These plant families are the only ones that produce the unique red or yellow/orange pigments known as betalains, and these pigments cannot be found in any other plant families.
  • Asteraceae, often known as the Compositae family: The dandelion is a member of the aster family, which also includes lettuce, several types of endive, chicory (such as frisee, Belgian endive, and escarole), and chicory.
  • Each of these plant families has its unique concentration of particular classes of phytonutrients that impact its color and flavor is a compelling argument in favor of consuming a varied and extensive assortment of leafy greens.

Bitter Greens Are Better

Green Leafy Vegetables Are A Power Food

The bitter flavor of many greens is caused by phytocompounds named phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, and glucosinolates. Plants secrete chemicals with a disagreeable taste to deter animals from trying to consume them. Since high amounts of some of these bitter substances can be hazardous, our bodies, like other animals, are programmed to steer clear of meals with a bitter flavor.

Therefore, plant scientists have eliminated these bitter components through selective breeding to make our grown veggies more palatable to customers. But recent and ongoing research has revealed that bitter phytocompounds can give a wide array of health advantages that assist in fighting against the chronic illnesses that are connected with aging. These effects serve to keep people healthier as they become older.

The good news is that you can train your taste to accept and even like the robust flavors of bitter greens like endive, escarole, arugula, chopped kale, and others.

When you consider how many of us have grown to enjoy strong black coffee, tea, and dark chocolate, all of which are abundant in bitter-tasting phytonutrients, research suggests that these phytonutrients may be partially responsible for the health benefits that are claimed by these foods and beverages, it is easy to see why so many of us enjoy them.

Chard Pests And Diseases

Pest/DiseaseTypeSymptomsControl/Prevention
AphidsInsectMisshapen/yellow leaves; sticky “honeydew” (excrement); sooty, black moldPlant companion plants; spray plants with water; apply insecticidal soap; place banana or orange peels around plants; wipe leaves with a solution of dish soap and water containing 1 to 2 percent dish soap (no additions) every 2 to 3 days for two weeks. Include native plants in your garden to attract good bugs.
Cercospora leaf spotFungusOn the leaves, there are a significant number of brown dots that are surrounded by reddish-purple halos; with time, the brown spots will get larger and turn grey, but the halos will remain.Eliminate sick plants and weeds, do not water from overhead and make sure there is adequate air circulation. rotate crops
Flea BeetlesInsectNumerous tiny holes in leavesUse row covers; mulch heavily; add native plants to invite beneficial insects
Leaf minersInsectMeandering blisters in leaves caused by tunneling larvaeRemove infested leaves; weed; use row covers; till soil early in season; rotate crops
slugs/snailsMolluskIrregular holes in leaves; slimy secretion on plants/soil; seedlings “disappear”Handpicking; avoiding heavy bark mulch; using copper plant collars; avoiding overhead watering; laying boards on the soil in the evening, and then getting rid of any pests that are "hiding" in hot, soapy water in the morning; to commit suicide by drowning in a deep container that was either filled with half an inch of beer or sugar water mixed with yeast and then sank such that the top edge was slightly above the earth; Apply a barrier consisting of a strip of diatomaceous ground with a width of one inch.

Cooking Notes

Swiss Chard

  • Chard may be used in the same ways that spinach and kale are, including as a colorful addition to salads, in smoothies, in soups and stews, on pizzas, in place of lettuce in sandwiches, in quiches, and any other dish that calls for spinach or kale (especially if you dislike the latter).
  • Swiss Chard maintains its form well and contributes a nutritional boost when cooked.