What is this Swiss chard? Imagine spinach that meets celery and placed under the neon lights. Yes, Swiss chard is a unique vegetable that has puckered leaves that are glossy and veined with the firm stalks in bright orange, white, red, yellow, or magenta color. Interested in growing Swiss chard?
You must first choose the variety of Swiss chard to grow. If you live in the Northeast, you have to sow your Swiss chard right before the last frost. You can also sow it some more times until the mid-summer. If you live in the region where the garden soil won’t freeze hard, you can sow Swiss chard again in autumn.
Steps To Take In Growing Swiss Chard From Seed
In growing Swiss chard, the very first thing you need to do is thinning out seedlings clusters before you start transplanting them. Keep only the sturdiest ones and then rinse them. Enjoy the rest of them as the nutritious microgreens. Here are the complete steps that will lead you to healthy Swiss chard:
Start Swiss chard seeds indoors for 3 to 4 weeks right before the date of the last frost. You can also directly sow the seeds 2 weeks before that date. The seedlings can be placed outside right after the date of last frost has passed.
If you live in the warmer region, you can start growing this plant by directly sowing the seeds around 10 weeks before the date of first frost. Place your seedlings outside when they are 4 weeks old.
2. Sowing Swiss chard in good quality soil
Sowing the seed in garden soil that is organically rich and is supplemented by fertilizer or compost can be really helpful. Leafy veggies such as Swiss chard love nitrogen supplementation. Make sure you prepare well balanced fertilizer that is slow release during soil test before growing Swiss chard.
3. Hardening off the seedlings
Hardening off the seedlings must be done at the recommended time. You must acclimate the seedlings to outdoors for several hours in a couple days before transplanting the seedlings into your garden or into containers if you prefer growing Swiss chard in containers.
If you want to grow Swiss chard in the pots, provide containers that have well drainage holes that are 12 inches or more. In growing Swiss chard successfully in containers, you need to pick a variety that has smaller stature. Then trim the leaves immediately as they reach 6 inches.
4. Trimming the leaves for garden Swiss chard
If your Swiss chard grows in the garden soil, cut the leaves when their height reaches 6 inches to 2 feet, depending on the size of the plant. The smaller their stalk and leaf, the tendered their texture will be.
Prepare the garden soil until it has 12 inches depth. Work in any amendments that are recommended and then fertilize them if you want to. Plant the seedling one for every 12 inches. Then leave 18 inches of space between every row. Water the soil and maintain the moisture evenly.
5. Growing Swiss chard while they’re still baby greens
Baby greens mean harvesting the Swiss chard when the height of this vegetable reaches only 6 inches. If you are interested in harvesting baby greens Swiss chard, you must consider growing them much closer, around 6 inches between each seedling. This gives you more little leaves.
7. Taking care of your Swiss chard
Once your Swiss chard is established, they will need at least one inch or more of water along their growing season. If there is no rain, supplements will be necessary in growing this plant. With no rain and supplement, your plant will produce leaf very slowly until you restore the moisture.
Those steps will give you a healthy and tasty Swiss chard if you follow them precisely. To help Swiss chard grow better consider growing some companion plants with them. How many companion plants can be grown with this plant?
Grow Your Swiss Chard With The Right Companion Plants
The best companion plants for your Swiss chard will be plants that have similar needs in water, sun, and soil. Those plants must not attract the disease and pests that will harm the process of growing. These plants are the greatest friends for your Swiss chard:
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet alyssum
Chamomile and sweet alyssum will help attract helpful pollinators. Some pollinators attracted by those plants will feed on some pests that will harm your Swiss chard. If you are interested in growing mint as the companion for Swiss chard, learn how to grow mint indoors and outdoors to accompany Swiss chard.
You shouldn’t grow your Swiss chard along with corn, potatoes, pumpkin, melon, and cucumber. They are not good plants for Swiss chard.
Some Tips in Growing Swiss Chard in Winter
Whether you are growing your Swiss chard in winter or in any other season, there are some helpful tips you need to know so that you can harvest your Swiss chard on time. Here they are:
- Avoid growing companion plants with your Swiss chard that will compete for the water. The companion plants should not attract diseases and pests to which your Swiss chard becomes vulnerable.
- You must harvest your Swiss chard often in order to encourage the formation of new leaves for your plants.
- Maintain the adequate moisture to encourage the faster growth. Poor drainage, soil, weed control, and spacing will make your Swiss chard become a nice target for aphid, blister beetle, beet leafhopper, leaf miner, tarnished plant bug, flea beetle, and slug.
- To get successive crops, you must plant your Swiss chard multiple times.
Your potting soil or garden soil must be observed. If the soil gets dry and your Swiss chard doesn’t get the moisture it needs to grow, your plants will not only grow slowly but will also die from the pests attacks. Growing Swiss chard is actually easy if only you follow the rules properly.