Note: Once a week I share a popular post from the archives. This post was originally published in May 2013.
If you’ve been hanging around here lately you know that we’ve had an amazing Swiss Chard crop this year. If you’re a real life friend I’ve probably tried to pawn some off on you bless you with some. If not, let me know and I’ll remedy that. My family will be so happy!
This is our first year to grow Swiss Chard and it will definitely be grown again. I actually have visions of planting chard and kale along the outside of the chicken yard so the girls can have a treat whenever they want.
Here’s some things I’ve learned about Swiss Chard…
- Great source of vitamins K, A, C and E, along with magnesium, potassium and iron. It also has B vitamins, calcium and copper. How’s that for a multi-vitamin???
- Swiss chard really prefers cooler weather but it’s been in the upper 80’s and low 90’s here and it hasn’t turned bitter or bolted. Brandy over at The Prudent Homemaker lives in Las Vegas and she says she’s able to grow it in 110 degrees.
- In warmer climates you can grow chard through the winter. In colder climates you can mulch it really good and it will be some of the first things up in the spring.
- The seeds are similar to beets seeds, makes sense since they’re in the same family. The seed is actually a cluster of seeds so you’ll want to thin them out when they sprout. You can use the thinnings in salad.
- The stalks are edible, too. Just cut them up like celery and cook them for a while before adding the leaves.
- To plant, plant them about 1/2″ deep and about 12″ apart. They can get big.
Pests and Problems
- There are very few pests or problems with Swiss Chard. As you can see in my photo above some of the leaves have small holes in them, we just cut them out and eat the rest. The ones that have lots of holes go to the hens. I’m not sure what makes the holes, maybe leaf miners or grass hoppers. It’s not been enough of a problem for me to worry about it.
Harvest and Storage
- Harvest just the outer leaves and let the rest continue to grow. Before you know it, you too can have 3′ tall Swiss chard
- During the second year is when chard sends up a seed stalk. You can let it go and collect the seeds or cut it off and it will continue to produce new leaves.
- For storage you can chop it up and freeze it or dehydrate it. But I think that since it’s such a great producer there’s no need to store it.
- It tastes very similar to cooked spinach and so can be used in any recipe that calls for spinach. It’s a little sturdier but not as much as Kale.
- We use it in chicken Alfredo, scrambled eggs, soups, lasagna, I’ve even put it in Spanish rice, and of course, just sauteed.
Do you grow Swiss Chard? Any other advice?
You can find information about other fruits and veggies by searching clicking on the In The Garden tab up top or in The Gardening Notebook.
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