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Swiss Chard

 

Ease of Growing  [Scale 1-5] - 1 (Easy)

How Time Consuming

Very little at all after planting apart from watering.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Bright Lights’ AGM – very colourful mixture of reliable varieties. Harvest as baby leaves for salads.
  • ‘Rhubarb Chard’ AGM – High yields from this striking red leaf stalks.

Home Grown Vs Supermarket

Always fresher to grow your own, plus you have the advantage of seeing the colourful leaves growing in your vegetable plot.

Best Sites and Soils   

Prefers an open sunny site on fertile soil but will tolerate some shade in summer.  Will be in the ground over a long period so it is important to improve the soil before planting.

When to sow

Either in late spring for a summer and autumn crop or late summer for a winter crop.
Distance between rows - 30cm (12”) apart
Distance between plants - 45cm (18”) apart

When to harvest

Harvest regularly when leaves are at the required size from 10 weeks after sowing.

Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo  Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is new on the Harrod Horticultural block and has recently taken over her post as Horticultural Advisor and Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 18 years ago.  Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained an allotment, where she grows her own organic fruit and vegetables.

 

Further Information

Watering / Feeding - Don’t let the soil dry out or the plants will bolt. No additional feeding necessary during the growing season.

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Guide to sowing and planting - Sow directly where the plants will grow or raise seedlings in trays or pots and transplant when big enough to handle.
Sow every two weeks if you want to produce mini-leaves.
Cover plants for overwintering in October with cloches or protect the crown with straw, then cover with fleece.

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Problems to look out for - Chard is relatively pest and disease free.
May bolt in warm weather or if leaves are not regularly cut, but plants are vigorous so will quickly grow back again after being cut back.
Downy mildew or grey mould (Botrytis) can be a problem in densely sown ‘cut and come again’ crops. Seedlings suddenly collapse.

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How to harvest by type - Treat as a ‘cut and come again’ plant by regularly harvesting the leaves from the outside in.

Storing - Will store in the fridge for a few days, leaves can be frozen either whole or chopped, raw or cooked.

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