Growing Swiss Chard All Season Long
Posted October 21, 2016
Chard thrives through the heat of the summer and past the first frost of autumn. Chard offers generous yields, with tall sprays of deeply crinkled green leaves and colorful, broad stalks that are great grown in the vegetable garden and even pots and flower beds.
Chard is a biennial. Although it will overwinter in most gardens, it will set seed during its second year, so it's best to plant a new crop each year. Direct-sow chard when spring takes a warm turn. Plant chard seeds 1/2 inch deep directly into the soil that has been amended well with compost. Direct sown plants seem to be more vigorous verses transplants.
While chard does not have many demands, watering regularly when plants are small will encourage a vigorous mature plant. Once the plant is mature it will tolerate dry soil far more than a tender seedling.
Slugs, earwigs and leaf miners can damage chard. Row covers will protect against leaf miner damage by preventing the adult miner from laying eggs on the leaves. Sluggo Plus will control slugs and earwigs by sprinkling a small amount of bait at the base of each plant.
Rainbow Swiss Chard works well for cut-and-come again culture. Fordhook Giant has large stalks and large leaves that is great for stemming. Ruby Red is a traditional chard, while Pink Flamingo is almost neon and perfect when picked small for salads. Grow any of these varieties and others to dress up the garden! Red chard is stunning when grown next to zinnias or hot-colored cosmos.
Place chard seeds in a fine sieve and run cool water over the seed for 60 seconds. This will help soften the seed coating, which will hasten germination.