Planting & Care:
Swiss chard can either be sown directly or started indoors and transplanted in well worked and loosened soil. Water often when they are young to get them growing. After a month and depending on the weather and type of soil you could get away with watering once a week. Clay soil with organic matter works best.
Plant them about 18 inches apart and that should give them enough space to grow. If the leaves aren’t harvested often they need to be trimmed, at least the ones that are touching the ground so they aren’t attracting pests. As with any plants weed often for best results.
We didn’t have any issues with swiss chard during the winter nights in Southern California that went as low 30F, they didn’t like the 90F during the summer months but they survived. Partial shade would be preferred during the summer months.
Swiss chard is usually problem free, but keep an eye out for aphids, mites, powdery mildew and caterpillars, if you see any holes in the leaves or discoloring they will need a closer look and attention. Plant them along with Onion & Garlic to deter some of the pests. These can also be planted along Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage & Kale. Neem oil spray can help deter some common pests.
Comparing the Varieties:
They all taste almost the same, The red seem much tastier and looks appealing and co-incidentally red was slow growing or at least slow start compared to the green varieties.
White does look a lot appealing with their contrasting stems
Green for sure is fast growing with high germination ratio.
Leaves can be harvested as soon as they are big enough, younger leaves are tastier and the stems are edible too. Ours has been around for about an year and we have been harvesting from the first month and you could harvest every other week depending on the variety. It just keeps growing with minimal care.
Bolting, Flowers & Seeds:
After about an year, around the spring they started growing tall about 5ft starting to flower and eventually producing seeds. Cutting them off, didn’t stop them. They continue to leave out new shoots that are determined to flower!
Green one especially had too many shoots.
And finally ended-up clearing all the overgrown chard to make room for some nitrogen fixing legumes.
Checkout the size of the stem :).
Hope the article was helpful, Leave your questions and comments below. Thanks!