Leafy Vegetables: Arugula, Chicory and Swiss Chard

With dozens of leafy vegetable varieties to choose from, the right selection means the difference between success and disappointment. Use this guide to determine what arugula, chicory and Swiss chard will suit you best.

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Arugula ‘Rocket Wild’

A popular salad leaf with slim, divided leaves and a pungent peppery taste. Easy to grow in pots or beds, it does not bolt as quickly as cultivated forms, but pick the leaves frequently for a longer cropping period.

Sow: Early spring to early fall
Harvest: From mid-spring (through winter under cover)
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Chicory ‘Italiko Rosso’

Red-stemmed asparagus, or catalogna chicory, grows well in poor soil and is ideal for harvesting as baby leaves to add a slightly bitter tang to salads. Alternatively, allow the foliage to mature and eat lightly steamed.

Sow: Late spring to early fall
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Chicory ‘Sugar Loaf’

Treat in the same way as lettuce to produce tall, pale heads of crisp, bitter leaves or cut-and-come-again baby leaves. Chicory grows well in poorer soil, although watering may be required in dry spells.

Sow: Mid-spring to late summer
Harvest: Midsummer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Swiss chard ‘Charlotte’

One of the most attractive ruby chards, with bright red stems and contrasting green leaves veined a striking red. It looks fabulous in a pot or flower border, and the baby leaves liven up salads. A must for every garden.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: At any time
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’

Multi-colored stems ranging from white and yellow to pink and purple make this a vibrant addition to the vegetable garden and flower border. Easy to grow, it reemerges in early spring if given winter protection.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Swiss chard ‘Lucullus’

Decorative and delicious, this chard rapidly produces generous crops of large green leaves on sturdy, pure white stems. Leaves and stems may be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried; their mild flavor is similar to beets.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun