Growing Swiss Chard
Many gardeners find growing swiss chard easier than growing spinach, that’s because it’s a tougher plant. It’s better able to cope with hotter weather and can also cope with drought whilst spinach can’t.
Growing Swiss Chard – Soil Preparation
Swiss chard prefers a soil with a pH of around 6.5 – 6.8. It likes soil that is free draining but holds some moisture. So a soil with a good amount of organic matter is perfect.
Dig the soil over then add some manure or compost to get organic matter into the soil. Do this in springtime a month or so before sowing. Adding organic matter will help retain moisture in the soil.
If you are growing swiss chard from seed you need to prepare a fine seedbed, break-up any large lumps of soil with your garden rake – it helps to stamp the flat side of the rack over the soil to flatten the soil out and break up any small lumps.
Growing Swiss chard – Sowing
It’s best to start growing swiss chard in a sunny position, though they will tolerate some shade as well.
You can either sow swiss chard directly into the soil in April time. Or you can start the plants off in individual peat pots, fill the pots up with compost water and place 2 or 3 seeds into each peat pot. The benefit of this is that the plants are more established when you plant them out. This means you’ll be able to pick it earlier.
If you are going to direct sow – then make a drill about 1 to 2cm deep, then sow the swiss chard seeds about 10 to 15cm apart. Germination of the seeds can take around 7 to 14 days.
The swiss chard plants might need thinning you can space them about 15-25cm apart between plants – this allows the plants to produce big leaves. You can use and eat the swiss chard plants that you have pulled out.
Looking after the crop
Swiss chard should be watered regularly especially when the weather is very dry, watering helps prevent bolting. Swiss chard can start bolting and will then produce a flower stalk – if it does start bolting – then just cut it out, as it will divert the energy away from growing.
Also you can mulch around the swiss chard plants with grass clippings to keep weeds down and to help keep moisture in the soil.
Swiss chard come in a variety of different stalk colours – red, yellow and green/white – which you can see from the images. Makes your food full of colour.
As you can read growing swiss chard is pretty easy and can be grown by any budding gardener.