Swiss Chard is a great addition to any meal and is easily grown and tolerant.
Chard tolerates the light frosts of spring and the moderate frosts of autumn. If you want to grow chard for harvest in winter, plant it under the cover of a plastic hoop tunnel or cold frame.
Chard matures in 50 to 60 days depending on the variety.
CHARD SOWING AND PLANTING TIPS
• Chard can be grown from seeds or transplants.
• Direct-sow chard seeds in the garden 5 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost; chard can be started indoors or in a plastic tunnel or cold frame 10 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring.
• Soak seeds overnight before sowing to hasten germination.
• Seed germinates in 5 to 7 days at or near 16-18°C—but sometimes seed can take up to 3 weeks to germinate if the soil is cold. Germination will not occur in soil chillier than 10°C.
• Keep the soil evenly moist until seeds germinate.
• Sow seed 10 to 13mm deep.
• Sow seeds 2.5cm apart; later thin seedlings to 15cm apart; use the thinnings in salads.
• Space plants 20-25 cm apart in a staggered pattern or rows.
• Chard grows best in full sun but can tolerate light shade.
• Chard prefers a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
• Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of sowing; compost will feed the soil and aide moisture retention.
• Keep the soil moist until seedlings are well established; once plants are established mulch with straw to keep the roots cool and moist.
• Chard can tolerate light frosts in the spring and moderate freezes in the autumn.
• Avoid planting chard where beets, spinach, or ochre has recently grown. Plant chard where beans have just grown if you can.
• Fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion at half strength.
• Cut plants back to about 7 cm above the soil in late summer; the plant will produce new leaves for autumn harvest.