Full-bloom Period: Spring
Cultivating Difficulty: Very Easy
Product Type: Bonsai
All the same uses as spinach but not as fussy about whether or soil. Plant seeds in spring and summer.
Few vegetables can match Swiss chard for ease of growth and heavy, extended production of delicious, crinkly green leaves and wide, crisp stems. Six to eight plants can feed a family for several months because new center leaves continually replace the large outer leaves as they are harvested.
A member of the beet family, chard can be harvested 60 days following spring planting or 45 days after summer planting. Plants withstand summer heat in most areas, yet will mature by midsummer where summers are cool.
Recommended varieties. ‘Fordhook Giant’, ‘Lucullus’, ‘White Ribbed’. ‘Rhubarb’ chard has red stems and ribs and dark green leaves. It is decorative enough to be used in groups among flowers.
- How to plant. Grow chard from seeds sown outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. In mild- winter areas, chard can be planted any time of the year, but fall plantings shoot to seed the following spring. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Thin plants to 8 to 12 inches apart; eat the excess plants. Chard seeds are well adapted to band planting or broadcasting.
- Care. Feed chard every two to three weeks and water frequently. The plants may wilt slightly on hot days but will recover quickly if the soil around them is soaked.