How To Grow Chard

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Chard

Growing Chard

Chard is a variety of beet native to the Mediterranean region. It is an important cooking green in many parts of the world and is widely used in Italian, French, and German cuisine. It has a mildly sweet, earthy flavor and is usually cooked down to develop its characteristic savory and bitter flavors. The leaves are large, dark green, and succulent, while the stems are crunchy and bright white. It is highly nutritious, containing many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and protein.

A Cheatsheet for Growing Chard

Choose a Spot

🌞 Find a sunny location with well-draining soil.

Sow the Seeds

🌱 Plant chard seeds 1/2 inch deep, 12 inches apart.

Water Consistently

💧 Keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering.

Fertilize Regularly

🌿 Feed with organic compost every 4-6 weeks.

Harvest Continuously

🔪 Cut outside leaves when they reach 6-8 inches long.

Use Nutritious Leaves

🥗 Chard is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, plus iron and fiber.

Prolong the Harvest

⏳ Remove flowers to prevent bolting and extend the season.

Enjoy Chard's Versatility

🍽️ Cook it, add to salads, or use as a wrap substitute.

Achieve Self-Sufficiency

🌱 Growing chard reduces grocery bills and promotes sustainability.

Growing Chard: Getting Started

Chard is one of those versatile greens that's both beautiful and nutritious. It's also incredibly easy to grow.

My favorite thing about growing chard is its ability to withstand both warm and cool weather, making it a resilient addition to any garden.

Chard can be harvested multiple times throughout its growing season, often lasting through early winter in mild climates.

Choosing Your Chard Variety

There are several varieties of chard, each with its own unique appeal. Rainbow chard is a visual delight with its multicolored stems, while Swiss chard boasts deep green foliage and a robust flavor.

Which to choose? Well, pick the one that excites you most, or better yet, try a few!

Planting Chard

Chard grows well from either seeds or transplants. I've found that direct seeding offers quicker and more robust growth.

Sow the seeds about half an inch deep and space them 12 inches apart. This gives them room to spread out and thrive.

Chard prefers rich, well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Timing Your Planting

Sow seeds in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. You can also plant in late summer for a fall harvest.

This flexibility allows for multiple crops in a single growing season, maximizing your garden's productivity.

Caring for Your Chard

One of the best things about chard is how low-maintenance it is. Regular watering keeps the leaves tender and flavorful.

Mulching around the base helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Trust me, your chard will thank you.

Chard is relatively pest-resistant, but keep an eye out for slugs and aphids.

Fertilizing Your Chard

I recommend an organic, balanced fertilizer applied every few weeks. This will boost growth and leaf production.

Make sure not to over-fertilize; leafy greens like chard are sensitive to high nitrogen levels.

Harvesting Chard

Harvesting is where the fun really begins. You can start picking leaves when they are about 6 inches tall.

Use a sharp knife or scissors to snip the outer leaves, but leave the center growing. This way, your plant keeps producing.

I've managed to keep the same chard plant producing for months by selectively harvesting the largest leaves.

Storing and Using Chard

Chard can be stored in the fridge for about a week. Wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag.

Try sautéing it with garlic and olive oil for a quick, nutritious side dish. Or, toss it into soups and stews for added flavor and color.

Common Challenges

Though chard is hardy, it’s not without its challenges. If leaves turn yellow, it could be a sign of nutrient deficiency or water stress.

Always check soil moisture before assuming the plant needs more water. Sometimes, it's as simple as soil imbalances.

When in doubt, perform a soil test to diagnose what your chard may need.

Final Thoughts

Growing chard is both rewarding and straightforward. With a bit of attention and care, you'll enjoy bountiful harvests for months.

Happy Gardening!

FAQ

1. When should I plant chard?

Start growing chard in early spring or late summer.

2. How much sunlight does chard need?

Chard thrives with full sun or partial shade.

3. What type of soil is suitable for chard?

Well-draining soil enriched with compost is ideal for growing chard.

4. How often should I water chard plants?

Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soaked.

5. Can chard tolerate frost?

Yes, chard handles mild frost well, making it suitable for cool weather.

6. How long does it take for chard to mature?

Chard typically matures in 45-60 days after planting.

7. Do I need to fertilize chard?

Yes, apply a balanced organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.

8. Can chard be grown in containers?

Absolutely! Chard is a great container-friendly vegetable.

9. Should I harvest the entire chard plant or just the leaves?

You can harvest individual leaves or harvest the whole plant at once.

10. How do I store harvested chard?

Keep chard leaves in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Chard is a great vegetable to add to any garden or meal! Chard is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin A, and magnesium, as well as being a good source of dietary fiber. It also has a mild flavor and pleasant texture, making it a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes both raw and cooked. Chard makes a fantastic addition to salads, stir-fries, soups, pastas, and much more.

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