Chard or Swiss Chard is a biennial, cultivated as an annual for its delicious and nutritious leaves. While most consider it part of the leafy green family like spinach, it's part of the beet family. It's got nicknames including but not limited to Silver Beet, Spinach Beet, and Perpetual Spinach. Leaves and stalks can range in colour from red, silver, white, and even pink or orange.
Swiss Chard is a very beneficial addition to not only your garden but a healthy lifestyle! It's low calories, high in magnesium, iron, potassium, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Not only that, but it's packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, and it's loaded with fibre to keep you regular. Chard is known to decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar! On top of all that, it's also capable of promoting weight loss when added to your well-balanced diet!
When to Plant
Like any other Beet family vegetable, NEVER transplant Swiss Chard. Direct sow as soon as the ground is workable in the spring until early August to keep a fresh supply through the growing season. Chard is hearty to frost and light freezing and prefers cooler temperatures.
How to Plant
Direct sow your seeds approximately two weeks before your last expected frost date. Plant your seeds 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart. As those seedlings develop, wait until they're tall enough to be used in soups or salads and thin to 20cm apart.
How to Care
Chard will grow in partial sun but grows best in an environment with full sun. Be sure your soil is well-drained and full of nutrients by mixing in compost before you seed. If you don't have compost available, you can substitute for a well-balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) to the soil.
How to Harvest
Remember to harvest your Chard as close to mealtime as possible as it can wilt quickly. Use a set of garden scissors or a serrated knife to cut the stalks about 3 cm above the soil. Always cut the outer leaves to allow the inner leaves to grow and mature.
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