How to Grow Swiss Chard

Instruction & Advice for Growing Swiss Chard Plants
in Your Vegetable Garden
   

bright lights swiss chard

Nutrition Watering Instructions Harvesting
Climate Fertilizing Instructions Storage
Soil Challenges Tips
Planting    

*** Easy to Grow ***

Swiss Chard is a vegetable that is similar to spinach, but not related.  This gardening favorite is grown for it's stems and large leaves.  The stems of some varieties grow in a delightfully colorful rainbow of colors, adding a nice visual effect to your garden. 

To extend swiss chard's harvest period, remove the flower stems as they appear. 

Keep the beds free of weeds.  Keep the roots cooler by mulching in hot weather. 

Nutrition Information: (back to top)
Under optimal growing conditions, swiss chard offers: Dietary Fiber, Chromium, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Vitamin C, A, E, B6, K, Thiamin, Folate, Zinc, Phosphorus, Riboflavin.

Climate & Growing Conditions: (back to top)
Swiss Chard will grow in nearly any gardening climate, except extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures. 

Hot temperatures tend to cause this vegetable to bolt (go to seed).

How to Prepare the Garden Soil: (back to top)
Swiss Chard will grow best in well-drained soil with full (or part) sun exposure.  

Prepare your garden bed for this vegetable by digging in compost and well-rotted manure. 

The garden soil pH should be alkaline. (Instructions for testing your garden soil pH level.)

How to Plant Swiss Chard: (back to top)
Dig your swiss chard rows 3" deep and 16” apart.  Apply fertilizer to the bottom of the row. Add garden soil on top of the fertilizer, filling to 1" deep and firming down the soil layer. Plant the swiss chard seeds, fill with soil and water. Keep moist but not soggy. 

Seedlings should appear in 14 days.  When the swiss chard seedlings are 1” high, thin so that each plant has 1 foot of space around it (allowing plenty of room to grow, which will also make for healthier plants).

Note: One planting will last for the whole gardening season.

How to Water: (back to top)
Keep soil evenly moist with regular waterings.

How to Fertilize: (back to top)
Use nitrogen rich fertilizers for swiss chard.  

Gardening Challenges: (back to top)
Problems are rare, but you may see: leaf spot, aphids, leaf miners

* Gardening Tip * Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.

How to Harvest Swiss Chard: (back to top)
Swiss chard tends to have a very long harvest period.  When the outside leaves are at least 6" long, harvest as needed by picking (only) the outside leaves. Do not cut the stalks, but break or peel off in a downwards motion. 

Leave the younger stalks alone, so the plant continues to grow (it will produce this way for you all season).  Or, you can cut the whole plant to 2” tall, and let the enitire swiss chard plant grow again.

How to freeze Swiss Chard (back to top)
Wash swiss chard well and trim.  Blanch in small quantities for 1 minute, then chill for 1 minute in iced water.  Pack swiss chard in freezer bags, remove air, seal, and label.  Freeze swiss chard for up to 6 months.

Canning Swiss Chard (and other greens) (back to top)
NOTE: This is only a guideline. If not canned properly very dangerous (life-threatening) bacteria can grow undetected in your jars. Be sure to follow standard sanitation and canning procedures, as outlined in your canning cookbook or by your local county extension office. Also, follow your specific canner's manufacturer's instructions.

Note: processing time given is for at sea level. If you're above sea level, the cooking time will be longer. Again, check with your local county extension office for conversion rates for your area, to ensure that you're producing a safe canned food product. Your local county extension office may also be able to test your pressure cooker's gauge for accuracy.

Wash swiss chard thoroughly several times. Trim away the tough stems. Steam the greens until wilted. (You can turn the greens over while steaming to prevent overcooking.) Chop the wilted swiss chard leaves coarsely.

Pack hot greens into hot jars. Leave 1" space at the top of the jar. Add 1/2 tsp salt per pint (1 tsp salt per quart jar). Cover with boling water and fill, but leave the 1" of space at the top. Use a rubber spatula to remove air bubbles. Wipe the top of the jar and the threads with a clean damp cloth. Add sterilized caps. Process at 10lbs pressure in pressure canner for 1 hour 10 min (pints) or 1 hour 30 min (quarts). Store jars in dark cabinets or pantries to prevent discoloration.

NOTE: Be sure to follow your pressure cooker's manufacturer supplied instructions for safety.

Follow your canning cookbook's instructions for removing, cooling and storing the jars.

Gardening Advice Tips (back to top)

Tips From Our Readers:
Have a great idea to share?  Submit your own tips to us at:  gardeningtips@howtogardenadvice.com

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Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.