How to Grow Chard (Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard)

Chard, also known as Swiss chard, is a nutritious leafy green vegetable that’s easy to grow and packed with health benefits. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, growing chard in your garden is a great way to add some color and flavor to your meals. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to grow chard successfully.

  1. Planting instructions: Chard can be grown in both spring and fall, and it prefers well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Chard requires full sun, but it can also tolerate some shade. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart.
  2. Watering requirements: Chard needs consistent moisture, so it’s important to water it regularly. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and the soil conditions.
  3. Fertilizing tips: Chard is a heavy feeder, so it’s important to fertilize it regularly. You can use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, or a fertilizer high in nitrogen, such as fish emulsion. Apply the fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
  4. Pest management: Chard is susceptible to several pests, including aphids, leaf miners, and slugs. To control these pests, use insecticidal soap or neem oil. You can also plant chard alongside companion plants, such as marigolds and basil, which help repel pests.
  5. Disease management: Chard is generally resistant to most diseases, but it can be affected by downy mildew and leaf spot. To prevent these diseases, avoid overhead watering and plant chard in well-drained soil. If you notice signs of disease, remove the affected leaves immediately.
  6. Harvesting instructions: Chard can be harvested when the leaves are about 6-8 inches long. Pick the leaves from the outside of the plant, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. You can also harvest the entire plant by cutting it off at ground level.
  7. Storage tips: Chard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. To store it, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. Do not wash the leaves until you’re ready to use them.
  8. Top Varieties to Grow: Some of the best chard varieties to grow include ‘Bright Lights,’ ‘Fordhook Giant,’ and ‘Rainbow.’
  9. Recipe ideas: Chard is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. You can sauté it with garlic and olive oil, add it to soups and stews, or use it as a filling for quiches and omelets. Try this recipe for chard and white bean soup: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chard-and-white-bean-soup-recipe-1917198.

In conclusion, growing chard is a rewarding experience that can add color and flavor to your meals. By following these simple steps, you can successfully grow chard in your garden and enjoy its health benefits all year round.