Swiss chard is a nutrient-rich leafy green that is easy to grow in your garden. This leafy green is related to beets and can be used in a variety of dishes. Swiss chard is a great addition to any garden because it is packed with nutrients and is relatively low maintenance. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about growing Swiss chard in your garden!
Swiss Chard Nutritional Information
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. One cup of cooked Swiss chard contains:
-0 grams of fat
-16 grams of carbs
-9 grams of protein
-10 grams of fiber
-15% of the RDA for vitamin A
-35% of the RDA for vitamin K
-17% of the RDA for vitamin C
-10% of the RDA for magnesium
-9% of the RDA for potassium
-8% of the RDA for iron
As you can see, Swiss chard is a nutrient powerhouse!
Not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals, but it is also high in fiber. Now that we know all of the amazing things that Swiss chard can do for our bodies, let’s learn how to grow it!
Growing Swiss Chard
Swiss chard grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter. Swiss chard can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. It can also be seeded directly into the garden. To plant Swiss chard, sow seeds ½ inch deep and 2 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart when they are 4 inches tall. Swiss chard can also be transplanted into the garden. Transplant seedlings that are 4 to 6 weeks old into prepared beds 12 inches apart. Swiss chard will mature in 50 to 70 days.
Choose the Right Location
Swiss chard likes full sun but will tolerate partial shade. When choosing a location for your Swiss chard plants, make sure they will have at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The plants will also need plenty of room to spread out, so give them about 18 inches of space between each plant.
Prepare the Soil
Swiss chard grows best in loose, well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. If you haven’t already done a soil test, now is a good time to do one so you can amend the soil accordingly. You can also add some compost to the planting area to help improve the drainage and aeration of the soil.
Plant the Seeds
You can sow Swiss chard seeds directly in the ground or start them indoors in seedling trays. If you are starting them indoors, sow the seeds about four weeks before the last frost date for your area. When transplanting the seedlings outdoors, be careful not to damage their roots. Space the seedlings about 18 inches apart so they have room to grow.
Swiss chard plants need about an inch of water per week, either from rainfall or from irrigation. Water the plants at ground level so the leaves don’t stay wet for too long and develop fungal diseases. It’s also important not to let the soil around your Swiss chard plants dry out completely; this will cause the leaves to wilt and make them less flavorful.
Harvesting and Storing Swiss Chard
Swiss chard can be harvested as soon as the leaves are large enough to eat which is usually about 40 days after planting. To harvest Swiss chard, cut leaves 1 to 2 inches from the base of the plant with a sharp knife or shears. Leaves can be harvested from multiple times from each plant. After harvesting, wash leaves thoroughly and dry them before storing them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator where they will keep fresh for up to one week. Swiss chard can also be frozen for long term storage. blanched leaves can be stored in airtight freezer bags for up to one year.
Now that you know how easy it is to grow your own greens, is there any reason to not get started with Swiss Chard in your garden today? You’ll love being able to harvest your own Swiss chard leaves to use in a variety of dishes from soups to casseroles, or even as a side dish that compliments just about any main course. Trust us, once you’ve tried homegrown Swiss chard, you’ll never go back!