Chard / Swiss Chard
3 to 10 & Overwinter Zone 6+
45-60cm Tall / 24-30cm Wide
Full or Partial Sun
Well-Drained, Rich & Moist
Acidic (6 to 6.4)
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 actually part of the beet family. It’s nicknames including but are 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!
30cm / 30-45cm
Days to Maturity
Spring, Summer & Fall
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.
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.
Light – Swiss Chard can grow in partial or full sun but requires a minimum of 4 to 6 hours a day ideally.
Soil – Chard prefers well-drained, organically rich soil. Ideally the soil will be amended to a slightly acidic pH, but will tolerate neutral soil.
Water – Keep your soil moist but not soggy with a generous layer of Mulch around the base.
Temperature/Humidity – Chard is grown as either an annual(3 to 10) or biennial(6 to 10) depending on your hardiness zones. It can handle a light frost, but you will lose the plant if your temperature falls below freezing for more than a few hours. Humidity isn’t typically an issue so long as you maintain good air circulation around the plants and its moisture needs are being met.
Fertilizer – Midway through the season be sure to generously fertilize your Chard plants to keep them strong. Always be sure to amend your soil with an Organic Fertilizer(10-10-10) before you plant and ALWAYS follow the instructions on the label.
This variety is commonly referred to as Rainbow due to the several distinct colours of the stems
Large greenish-white leaves and excellent flavour along with vigorous growth.
This type of Chard reproduces quickly as the outer leaves are harvested and typically has a taste similar to Spinach.
Chard is typically ready to be harvested in as little as 50-60 days. As long as you don’t disturb the crown it will continue to produce more leaves. Remove 3 or 4 leaves from the outside of the plant using shears or a knife approximately 3cm above the soil.
Try to harvest your Swiss Chard as close to meal time as possible to ensure the freshest produce. Always keep harvested greens in the refrigerator and be sure to use them within a few days. You can also blanch and freeze the greens for later use like Spinach.
No real pruning is required for Swiss Chard but always remove the older leaves when they start to wilt to stimulate new growth in the crown.
Swiss Chard can be either an annual or biennial depending on your growing zone. If allowed to grow into the second season it will go to seed in the early fall the following year.
Cut your Chard back during the fall and cover with a thick layer of mulch or straw in order to assist the plant through to the next spring.
Deer are the biggest issue when you’re attempting to grow any Chard. Typically they will leave it alone as long as there is plenty of food but come fall it’s fair game.
Slugs also leave holes in the leaves and tunnels in the ribs if the soil remains too moist.
Brown patches on the leaves are typically caused by a lack of air flow and the affected leaves must be culled in order to keep the disease to a minimum.