You may not be familiar with this vegetable, but chard is a popular vegetable to many gardeners because of its brightly colored leaves and stalks. Chards can also brighten up your vegetable patch. The leaves of this vegetable are crinkly and they look just like spinach. You can cook the stalks like asparagus.
Chards are easy to grow and they can do well in dry weather.
Chards need deep, loose, fertile, and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Your garden soil should be high in organic matter.
Can it be grown in container? What size container is best?
You can definitely grow chards in containers. These plants grow well in containers. Chards have dark leaves and bright stalks which make them a good ornamental addition to your flower garden.
To plant chards in containers, all you have to do is spread some seeds in it for easy leaf picking. Larger heads require more room to grow, so plant 2 chards in each 12 inches container. Use containers that are 12 inches deep.
How to grow
- This plant does not require too much work as it grows. Unlike most vegetables, chards are not heavy-feeders so you don’t have to worry about feeding them or fertilizing them.
- Thin your chard seedlings to 1 ft. apart or 2 inches for mini-leaves.
- Water them before the onset of drought.
- Add mulch when your soil is warm and moist.
- In October cover your plants with cloches, protect the crown with straw or any similar material, and then cover them with fleece.
How to care for your chards
- Water your chards with a depth of 1 or 2 inches each week.
- Spread mulch around your chards to retain the moisture in the soil and to keep weeds at bay.
- Protect your seedlings and transplants in their early growth stage with row covers.
Pest and pest control
Birds – birds might uproot your seedlings.
Solution: you can put scarecrows and bird-scaring mechanisms in your garden, but these will only work for a while. A more reliable solution is to protect your seedlings by covering them with horticultural fleece or mesh.
Downy Mildew or Grey Mold – these problems can occur in crops that are densely sown. Your seedlings will suddenly collapse.
Solution: sow chards thinly in warm conditions.
- You can harvest chards while they are young and tender, just cut off the outer leaves first and work towards the center. Do not wait for your chards to reach maximum size.
- Harvest regularly to allow your plants to re-grow.
- You can harvest seedlings that are around 2 inches tall at any stage.
Bright Yellow AGM – this variety has bright golden-yellow petioles with mid-green puckered leaves.
Charlotte AGM – this variety has striking red stems and veins, upright leaves and neat habit.
Fordhook giant AGM – this variety has attractive shiny green, puckered leaves with long succulent white petioles.
Lucullus AGM – this variety has lots of tender light green leaves with long succulent white petioles.