Swiss chard is one of the most delicious and nutritional and a great ornamental plant. Swiss chard can also be used as a backdrop for other plants. It belongs to the family of beetroot and is extremely versatile and nutritious.
Swiss Chard is rich in vitamins C and A. It also has a rich amount of oxidants, which is why it is used in many recipes. Swiss chard can be used in raw or cooked form. If you are in a mood of growing swiss chard in container, you are at the right place. We will discuss a lot of things that will help you understand and grow the plant.
What plant family does swiss chard belong to?
Beta vulgaris cicla, also known as stem chard, is a plant that has flat and broad stalks. The name “swiss” wad added so that the plant could be differentiated from the French Chardon. The flavour of chard is milder than the spinach, but it does taste like other leafy vegetables.
The leaves of the plant chard grow on the top of the stems, and they vary from color to colour (white to bright red).
Swiss chard is found in many varieties, including Ruby, Lucullus, Bright yellow, Bright lights, Rhubarb Red, ford hook Giant, Bright Lights. Swiss chard is also known as silver beet and was initially found in Sicily. Swiss chard is an excellent substitute for spinach.
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Best swiss chard varieties
While growing the Swiss Chard, a lot of gardeners don’t give a heed to the variety they are about to grow, which is a huge mistake, as some types of swiss chard work better than the others.
As stated above, most swiss chard is available in a range of colours like striped, magenta, yellow, but are categorized as white or red. But keep in mind that these colours are the leaf stalks’ stems and not the leaves.
The best swiss chard available is the white stemmed one, also known as Mostruoso. This variety has broad and tender stalks. The other
Best chard is “Large white ribbed” it isn’t tender than the other one, but both are way better than the red-stemmed chard.
The reason why Red Chard is a problem for the gardeners is that they are prone to bolting, especially after getting exposure to low temperatures. Red chards have thinner stems, and their stalks aren’t as productive as the stalks of the white chards. If you are unable to find white variety and are planning to manage the Red ones, then the European “Charlotte” is better than the standard ones, the red ones have more productive, and the stems are broader.
Swiss chard growing season (also include this sentence “how much sun does swiss chard need”)
Swiss Chards grow appropriately in the cold season, spring and fall; though it is tolerant of hotter temperatures, their growth slows down in the summer season. Chard is one of the cut and comes again plant, and their higher heat tolerance makes them the best leafy vegetable for salads in the summer.
So, you can easily plant chard in spring or fall as per your preference. If you are inclined towards spring harvest, plant the seeds around two to three weeks before the last frost. If you plan for the fall harvest, plant the seeds as early as late summer, but it shouldn’t be later than the 40 days of the first frost.
If the plant is harvested during the spring, it can quickly harvest through summer and fall. if you are planning to plant the seeds in spring and fall, then you will have chard harvest all round the year
While selecting a spot in the garden, keep the amount of sunlight that the plant will receive throughout. During the spring and the fall season, the weather is cooler, so the swiss chard prefers loads of sun rays. But during the summer season, the weather is warmer, and the sun requires less sunlight. But, since it’s a solid plant that can withstand heat very nicely, the plant can stay healthy in the sunny section of the garden or terrace.
This versatile plant grows well in containers, planter, and pot, so if you don’t have the spot in your garden, which receives the sun.
Also Read: How to Grow Pigeon Peas in Containers?
Growing Swiss Chard From Seeds
Swiss chard is a beetroot, and just that they don’t have a bottom. In other words, its a biennial plant that grows throughout the years. Chards are very easy to grow. It is just that they require maintenance and trimming from time to time, which will improve the flavor of chard.
Site and Soil
Swiss chard requires soil with a rich amount of moisture draining capacity; while you are sowing the seeds, make sure you don’t apply fresh manure. During the springtime, add compost as it will help the plant in growing.
Things you need to keep in mind while sowing the plants outside
While planting the seeds, sow them in the drill, which is 2.5 cm deep, and place them 30cm apart in rows which are 35cm apart from each other. Once done, proceed to cover them with a fine layer of compost and water.
Ways to do the Indoor Sowing
In modular trays, start sowing one seed per cell. Keep in mind that the swiss chard seeds cluster small seeds that produce around 3 to 5 little plants. Always thin out the weaker plants while they are germinating, and then leave only one. You can plant these seedlings after 3 weeks.
How to grow swiss, Rhubarb, and the rainbow chard seeds in modular trays.
Take a modular tray and fill the seeds with the compost; make sure that you use seed compost as they tend to have a more delicate texture, and they are lower in nutrients. While you are filling the tray, make sure that you are rubbing the compost with your hand so that there are no lumps left, and then settle all the dirt by banging the table on a hard surface.
Once done, use your fingers to make depression; they should be around 2.5 cm deep. Proceed on to sowing one seed, and they will produce approximately 3 to 5 plants. Proceed onto covering the seeds with the help of another compost layer and then scrape down the excess.
Do not over the water the seeds. Pour a gentle amount, and do this by punching some holes on the plastic bottle cap.
Sowing the seeds in drills
You can also sow the seeds in a drill or a mini trench, which is about 2.5 cm deep, and make sure that the seeds are approximately 30cm, and the gap between the rows should be 30 cm. Once done, cover the seeds with the fine layer of water, compost or soil.
Also read: How to Grow Alfalfa Indoors?
How to transplant swiss chard?
There could be a lot of reason for you to transplanting the swiss chard; it could be because of the seeds. It could be because you want to shift the plants indoors, no matter the reason, you have to do it very carefully! Swiss chard is a very tough plant and can thrive in its new spot. Follow the process.
First space the chard
The plants grow at their best when they are spaced apart, which is around 8 inches apart. When they have an adequate growing room, then the plants grow with their full potential. To transplant the chard, here is a list of items.
- Gardening Soil
- Hand garden spade
If you plan to transplant the chard into the pot, make sure that the stalk is strong and the leaves are mature. Once the plant starts to grow on leaves, you will differentiate between the baby and mature leaves. The plant should have at least have a pair of mature leaves before transplanting.
Once you are about to move the chard from one place to another, look for the strongest and mature sampling. If you transplant the weaker one, you will lose the leaves, and your energy will go to waste. The strongest plant will make the transplant more successful.
With the help of a hand spade, proceed onto digging the area around the plants’ clump, this way, you will be able to grasp the roots as quickly and as possibly you can. While digging up, if you feel any resistance, take back and then start digging up the soil without tearing up the roots.
Since the plants have grown in that area, the roots can get tangled, so untangle them with the help of forefinger and thumb as gently as possible as you can and rub them apart. Keep in mind that the faster you set them down, the quicker you will soil them, and the transplant will go properly.
The site where you are about to transplant the soil, turn the soil, and then lose it. Proceed to make a hole as deep as you can so that the roots can cover up adequately. Then pick the plant by its leaf ends and position its roots into the new dug space. With your hands’ help, put the soil back on the top, pat it and water it.
How to plant swiss chard?
Chard’s are very strong and can go on without any fertilizer, but if you find that your plant isn’t growing correctly, use a balanced fertilizer and use it halfway through the season.
You need to keep in mind that you will have to water the chards evenly and consistently as they grow better. During the dry spells in the summer season, water them thoroughly, and use mulch if possible so that you can conserve moisture.
To achieve the best quality, once the plant is 1 foot tall, cut the plants back. As, the plant if they overgrow, the plant becomes less flavourful.
How far apart to plant swiss chard?
Always space the plants’ incorrect intervals. To attain a successful harvest, you will have to space the chards properly. For planting the seeds, plant them in rows, which are 3 to 6 inches apart. If you plan to use seedlings, then place them in rows that are approximately 12 inches apart from each other.
Plant the seed or seedlings at the right depth. Whenever you are ready to plant the soil’s chards, make sure that you have put them in the right depth. If you plan to use seeds, placing them about ½- to ¾-inch deep, and planning to use the seedlings, make sure you are planting them at the soil levels.
Lastly, keep a count on the number of seeds you are going to use in your plant. Go for the rule of thumb use about eight to ten seeds for every foot.
How tall does swiss chard grow?
Chard plants can quickly grow up to 16 inches tall, including the stalks and leaves.
The leaves and stalks can be harvested over and over again. You can use the cut to transplant swiss chard.
How long does swiss chard take to grow?
The fully-formed leaves will be ready to harvest about 10-12 weeks after sowing, but late summer sowings may take a little longer. Cut individual leaves as you need them, and the plant will keep producing new growth.
Growing Swiss Chard in Containers
Growing the swiss chard in containers is a perfect way for the people who live in urban areas. Single swiss chard will produce leaves for months and months. The best part of swiss chard is that it is less demanding than the usual spinach and can quickly grow without much of a hassle.
Choosing the container isn’t a difficult task. It doesn’t have to be a fancy pot or something massive. A typical box that has about 12 inches of a diameter is perfectly fine.
How-to: Growing swiss chard in the raised bed?
Growing Swiss chard in bed is equal to growing swiss chard in a container or the garden; you will have to follow the same steps.
Harvesting Swiss chard
Always harvest the swiss chard immediately before the mealtime, as it will give you the best flavor. While harvesting the swiss chard, use garden scissors or something as close to a serrates bread knife.
Harvest leaf by leaf, start by cutting the outer leaves and then inner leaves. Lastly, you can always cut the while plant around one inch above the soil.
Companion plants for swiss chard
The best plants for growing companion plants are Beans, onions, and Brassica. Thyme is the best all ear round plant that can grow with the swiss chard. Strawberries go well with Chard; they also enhance their flavor.
Swiss Char’s are one of the best all year round plants in the world, they grow properly they don’t require a lot of maintenance, and lastly, they are healthy! Do you find this guide on growing swiss chard in containers helpful? Please share your thoughts.