Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Chard, also known as Swiss chard, is a leafy green vegetable that is both temperature and nutrient tolerant. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Chard grows well in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. The soil should be enriched with compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
Chard can be planted early in the spring for a summer harvest and again in late summer for a fall harvest. In milder climates, it can be grown throughout the winter.
Direct sow chard seeds 1/2 inch deep, spacing them 2-3 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 8-12 inches apart once they are a few inches tall. Chard requires consistent moisture, especially during the seedling stage and in hot weather.
For a comprehensive guide on growing chard, including variety selection and troubleshooting tips, please refer to our detailed chard grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Chard is generally resistant to pests and diseases but can be affected by leaf miners and aphids. Use organic pest control methods or appropriate chemical treatments if necessary. Regular weeding and mulching help maintain healthy plants and reduce the risk of disease.
Chard can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender or allowed to grow larger for a more robust flavor. Cut the outer leaves first, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. Chard will continue to produce leaves throughout the growing season if harvested regularly.
Storage and Preservation
Chard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, blanch the leaves for 2-3 minutes, cool them in ice water, drain, and then freeze. Chard can also be used in canned dishes or dried for use in soups and stews.