How to Grow the Best Swiss Chard

Image of Swiss Chard with a green banner that reads how to grow Swiss Chard.

Swiss chard is a beautiful, easy to grow vegetable that should be in any garden. Here are some tips for how to grow Swiss chard, a colorful, nutritious plant.

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In this post, we talk about how to grow Swiss chard, reasons why to grow Swiss chard, and how you can use Swiss chard in recipes in the kitchen.

We’ve probably all been told that we should eat more vegetables. Swiss chard is a hardy, versatile, and delicious vegetable that often flies under the radar.

Even if you don’t eat Swiss chard, it’s gorgeous to look at and can make a great plant in an ornamental garden.

What is Swiss Chard?

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that grows well during the cooler months of the year. It is closely related to beets and spinach, and is sometimes known as “silverbeet” or “perpetual spinach”.

This nutritious vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, too.

Though the leaves tend to be dark green, Swiss chard stems come in a variety of hues— including red, pink, orange, yellow, and white, that give the plant it’s brilliant colors.

Swiss chard is a vegetable that should be more well known. It’s bright, bold, and beautiful colors can make any garden look happy while it’s flavorful leaves add interest and nutrition to recipes.

Swiss chard is also easy to grow. It is one of the few plants that the bugs in the garden seem to ignore some years.

This plant is low key in its behavior, but it is one of the workhorses of the garden, producing edible leaves throughout spring, summer, and fall.

The many different types of chard and Swiss chard varieties include:

  • Barese
  • Bionda di Lyon
  • Bright Lights
  • Five Color Silverbeet (Rainbow)
  • Fordhook Giant
  • Lucullus
  • Oriole Orange
  • Perpetual Spinach
  • Pink Lipstick
  • Rhubarb
  • Silverado
  • Verde a Costa Bianca
  • Verde a Costa Blanca
  • Verde de Taglio
  • Vulcan

Many of these varieties can produce brilliantly colored stems in red, pink, orange, yellow, green, or white. Colors may vary according to variety. Most varieties are ready to harvest in 30 to 60 days.

What Does Swiss Chard Taste Like?

Similar to other dark leafy greens, Swiss chard is known for having a somewhat sharp flavor that can be tempered with cooking. Combining chard with other mixed greens or sautéing it with oil and garlic are two ways to temper the flavor.

Baby Swiss chard leaves may have a milder flavor, and taste good when added to salads.

Some varieties of Swiss chard are reported to have a milder flavor. These include the varieties Bionda di Lyon Swiss chard, Perpetual Spinach chard, and Verde de Taglio chard. Milder chard varieties are great for adding to soups, casseroles, and omelets.

Reasons to Grow Swiss Chard

There are many reasons to grow Swiss chard. Here are a few:

  • Swiss chard is a nutritious vegetable that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • It’s dark, green leaves and vibrant stems look beautiful in the garden.
  • Swiss chard is easy to grow, and may be one of the few plants in a garden that bugs mostly leave alone.
  • It isn’t picky about where you grow it. Swiss chard grows well—and looks beautiful—in containers and pots, in raised bed gardens, and in the ground.
  • In many cases, Swiss chard grows well in the summer, providing leafy greens for gardeners who have trouble growing lettuce and other leafy greens during this time of year.
  • Depending on where you garden, Swiss chard can be grown for much of the year. Certain varieties of this hardy plant may be grown during spring, summer, fall, and sometimes even winter.

How to Grow Swiss Chard

It is easy to grow Swiss chard from seed. Here are some tips on how to do it.

  • Start with a packet of Swiss chard seeds. The seeds can be started indoors in late winter for spring gardens or in mid-summer for fall gardens.
  • Fill 2” containers with rich soil.
  • Place 2 to 3 Swiss chard seeds ½-inch deep in each container, about 1” apart from each other.
  • Place seed containers in a warm and sunny place. Seeds should germinate in about 5 to 10 days. Using a seed heating mat and plant grow lights may help with germination.
  • Thin seedlings out to one plant per container when the plants reach 1 to 2-inches tall. Thinned out plants can be added to compost or replanted to see if they will grow.
  • Allow seedlings to continue to grow for about 4 to 6 weeks before planting them outside. Harden the seedlings off by placing them outside in a sheltered area for a few hours each day, for about a week before planting in the garden.
  • When it’s time to plant them in the garden, plant Swiss chard seedlings from 24” to 36” apart, as the plants can grow quite large.
  • When it’s time to transplant the chard seedlings, carefully remove each plant from it’s pot. Dig a hole that are about twice as wide as the plant’s root ball, before placing the seedling in the ground. Refilling each hole with soil, and gently water the plant.
  • Fertilize Swiss chard with a balanced vegetable garden fertilizer.
  • Once planted, Swiss chard should be ready to harvest about 30 (baby leaves) to 60 (mature leaves) days. Use freshly harvested Swiss chard leaves in salad, sauté casserole, or side dish recipes.

How to Cook with Swiss Chard

Great for adding to sauté, pasta, and salad recipes, Swiss chard is one of the most beautiful and versatile vegetables to grow in the garden.

One of the best, and easiest, ways to eat Swiss chard is to sauté it with garlic. To make this dish, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add 2 to 4 cloves of chopped garlic and cook 20 to 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add 6 to 8 cups of washed, chopped fresh Swiss chard leaves and ¼ cup of water to the skillet. Cook until greens are wilted, stirring to combine the leaves with the garlic and oil. Serve warm.

Baby Swiss chard leaves are delicious is salad. This fall seasonal vegetable is great for eating in mixed greens salads. including Strawberry Spinach Salad.

This post was bout growing Swiss chard, including how to grow and reasons to grow this nutritious, colorful vegetable.

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Credits
  • Photo by Eva Bronzini / Pexels
  • Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

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