Swiss chard is a most interesting leafy vegetable. If you look closely at its leaves, you’ll notice that it looks a lot like a beet. Actually, it IS a form of beet that’s grown for its colorful and nutritious leaves and stalks (instead of roots). Chard is one of the easiest vegetables for home gardeners to grow. In fact, with the simplest care, it will “volunteer” in your Bay Area garden all year round.
Growing Swiss Chard
You can sow the big, crinkly, tan chard seeds in soil anytime and then thin seedlings to 1ft apart. About 2 months after sowing, begin to cut outer leaves as needed for the table. New leaves grow up in center of plants. Plants yield all summer and seldom bolt to seed. Since our Bay Area winters are mild, swiss chard can be grown as a fall into spring crop. Use Harvest Gaurd to protect chard from leaf miner, and Sluggo to keep slugs and snails away from your plants.
Regular green and white chard looks beautiful in flower gardens, but ‘Bright Lights’ is more decorative. It has leaves ranging from green to burgundy, stalks in various shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, and green. Cook leaves and stalks separately, since stalks take longer.