The Trick To Growing Swiss Chard All Summer Long

Swiss chard is always sown outdoors (I guess you could do it inside if you wanted to but why bother when it is so easy to grow in the garden)

Sow outside as soon as the ground can be worked safely (without compacting the soil) and sow every two weeks from mid April until mid June. After this, it starts to get too hot to really grow this kind of leaf vegetable (leaves get bitter).

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Swiss chard

Sow seed one half inch deep and several seeds to the inch. 

Thin the seedlings when they are two inches tall and leave spacing at four inches apart.  Use the thinnings in salads as they are quite tender.  

When the remaining plants start to touch each other, pull every second one so the final spacing is a plant every eight inches. 

I usually pull them as they mature and just start to touch and pick the smaller of the two so I'm always pulling out the weaker plant (and eating it).  I don't have a "system" but rather I go down the row and look for smaller heads that are being dwarfed by nearby plants. Those get eaten first.

In early August, trim off all the browning or poor looking leaves and give a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer.

The boost in performance will give a lot of new fresh growth that you can harvest for the rest of the summer and right up until a snowfall knocks off the plants. They are very hardy and will bear right through all early frosts.

Do water this plant right through the heat of the summer. If you neglect to water it, you'll find the central stalk will go "woody" and will stop producing new and succulent growth. 

Swiss chard is a good alternative to spinach because it tends to continue producing right through the heat of the summer (if watered) where spinach does not grow well in the heat.  And Swiss chard resists bolting much better than spinach.

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Swiss Chard Problems

Problems are the same as any of the cabbage family. Watch for green cabbage worms all summer and aphids on early plants.

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