Introduction

Purchase the Seeds

Swiss chard is a cool-weather vegetable grown for its tasty leaves. It is actually a beet that has been cultivated for its large edible leaves. There are many excellent varieties of Swiss chard, including Fordhook Giant, Bright Lights and Perpetual.

Step 1

Step 2: Plant the Seeds

Step 2: Plant the Seeds

A planting board is simply a length of weather-resistant wood beveled along one side and notched at regular intervals along one side. The notched side is for spacing plants.

Plant the Seeds

Although Swiss chard will grow in poor soil, it thrives if a little blood meal is worked into the bed. Plant seeds in early spring, when soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees. Create shallow rows 18" apart. Place the seeds 2" apart in the rows and cover with 1/2" of soil. Water well.

Step 2

Step 3: Thin the Seedlings

Step 3: Thin the Seedlings

The Swiss chard can take anywhere from 5 days to almost 15 days to germinate. When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin them by using scissors and cutting out the extra plants, leaving 9 inches to 12 inches between the remaining seedlings.

Thin the Seedlings

Swiss chard will begin to germinate in about a week. When the seedlings are about 2" tall, thin them to one plant every 9" to 12". To remove seedlings, snip them off at soil level with a pair of scissors.

Step 3

Step 4: Cultivate the Swiss Chard

Step 4: Cultivate the Swiss Chard

Sprinkle blood meal or any other nitrogen rich fertilizer in the furrow.

Cultivate the Swiss Chard

Midway through the growing season, give Swiss chard a boost with blood meal. Cover the blood meal with soil to keep it from washing away in the rain. Maintain an adequate level of moisture to prevent the plants from tasting bitter. A generous layer of mulch will help preserve moisture.

Step 4

Step 5: Harvest the Swiss Chard

Step 5: Harvest the Swiss Chard

Bright lights is a real showstopper. Its stems are a knockout mix of red, yellow, orange, purple and white. Its green and burgundy leaves are mild and flavorful.

Harvest the Swiss Chard

Swiss chard matures fully about three months after planting. Chard is a “cut-and-come-again” vegetable, which means that as outer leaves are removed, inner leaves will continue to replace them. When harvesting leaves, avoid cutting into the central growing bud as this will cause the plant to stop producing.