Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that can grow more than two feet tall and two feet wide. The leaves are supported by broad, stout stems. They vary in color, depending on variety, ranging from light green and white for the most common to different shades and combinations of orange, purple yellow and red in the more colorful varieties.
The leaves, of all varieties are a shiny dark green color, ribbed and with a crinkly texture, they can grow to be more than a foot long and almost as wide and are an excellent source of vitamins.
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Chard can be grown by direct sowing seed or transplanting seedlings.
Swiss chard will produce over a long period of time and unlike many other vegetable greens is quite tolerant of hot summer conditions.
The colorful varieties of Swiss chard are often used in flower beds and ornamental pots where they certainly make for very appealing eye candy. However these colorful ribbed varieties although very attractive in the garden, don’t produce as well in terms of productivity or resistance to bolting like the more common green-white varieties.
|Veggie Garden Dairy|
|Also Known As||Chard - Silver Beet|
|Botanical||Family - Chenopodiaceae, Genus - Beta, Species - B. vulgaris|
|Plant Type||Cool season - biennial - leafy vegetable|
|Planting Position||Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.|
|Seed Viability||4 years|
|Germination||7-14 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)|
|Growing Temp||50-70 F (10-21 C)|
|Seed to Transplant||5-6 weeks|
|Planting Method||Direct sow or Seedling transplants|
|When to Plant||Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest|
|Time to Plant||As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.|
|Seed Sowing||Direct sowing swiss chard seeds - 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep - 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart in rows 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart|
|Plant Spacing||Transplant or thin seedlings 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart in rows 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart|
|Soil Conditions||Well drained - High organic matter - Medium fertility|
|Fertilizer||Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer , same rate for each side dressing.|
|When to Fertilize||2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks|
|Days to Harvest||55-65 days - depending on conditions and variety.|