SWISS CHARD & LEAF BEETS
- This is a must in every garden, with endless striking
varieties it can be grown in a vegetable patch but they
will also not look out of place in your ornamental flower
boarder. With a similar taste to spinach but far less
demanding to grow this in one crop we cannot
- For the best results grow in full sun but they will grow
with partial shade
- If the plants are offered enough protection they will
grow well into winter. I recommend sowing in large
pots giving you the ability to move the plants into a
greenhouse or poly tunnel for the cooler months.
-Swiss Chard are not too demanding when it comes to
soil conditions. However, for the best results dig in
fertiliser the previous Autumn.
- With a little bit of planning Chard can be harvested
almost year round.
Sowing and Growing
- It is often recommended to sow direct, however, I prefer to start slightly earlier undercover in small pots or seed trays.
- To supply you with a year round harvest make two sowings: One in early Spring and, another in Midsummer.
- Sow seeds 3cm deep and leave 10cm between plants and 30cm between rows.
- If you are growing your chard to full size thin back the plants to leave 30cm between each one.
- Chard is not too fussy when it comes to watering, one good drink per week if growing in the ground. More frequent watering will be needed for sowings made in pots and containers.
- During the high growth summer months feed once a week with a liquid seaweed.
- When growing chard into the autumn either move into the greenhouse or offer some fleece protection during colder spells.
- Time from sowing to harvest depends on the climate and the variety that is being grown but the general time from seed to harvest is 10-14 weeks.
- Remove the outer leaves first and leave the inner leaves to keep growing.
- The whole plant thinning's that are removed to make room for the larger plants to grow on can be cooked whole.
- There are so many fantastic varieties to choose from but here are my top picks
- Bright lights: If you are looking for a range of beautiful colours this is the one to go for and my personal pick
- Fordhook Giant: One of the largest Varieties
- Vulcan: Stunning bright red stems with red veins in the leaves
- Bright Yellow: As the name suggests it is a fantastic bright yellow colour
If your soil is too poor or if your climate is too hot and sunny for Swiss Chard give New Zealand Spinach a try