Planting, growing and harvesting Swiss chard is easy. The botanical name is Beta vulgaris. They require full or part sun, perfect soil type is loamy and beta vulgaris bloom in summer. A member of the beet family the vegetable is adaptable to warm and cold climates.
Planting Swiss chard
A normal practice is to plant the seed within a month at interval of 8 to 10 days. Start planting 21 days before the last spring frost date. If you want a fall harvest consider planting 30 to 40 days before first frost date.
Every twenty feet of single row add 5-10-10 fertilizer mix. Plant seeds half inch deep in light, well-drained soil. Avoid waterlogged soil and space seeds 20 inches apart in single rows. A good practice is to introduce 10 seeds per foot of row.
Pests and Diseases
The vegetable is appealing to many rodents and pest. Common pests are leaf miners, aphids and slugs.
• Leaf miners
The leaves are eaten raw, used as greens or cooked like spinach /asparagus.
There are different varieties of the vegetable. You have the multicolored stem ‘Bright Lights’, red stem ‘Ruby’ and ‘Lucullus’.
• ‘Bright Lights’
Overgrown chard plants lose flavor are unsightly, compete for space and soil nutrients. Cut the plant to maintain at about 1 foot tall. It is important t to thin them out when they are 3 inches tall.
The larger plants should be spaced 10 inches apart while smaller ones 5 inches apart. During dry periods water regularly make sure the water is evenly distributed. Mulch appropriately to conserve soil moisture.
Storage and Harvesting
Use a sharp clean knife to cut the outer leaves 1 to 2 inches above the ground. Harvest when the plant is 7 inches tall. Harvest carefully to encourage new leaves to grow for next harvest.
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