Beta vulgaris (55 days) Open-pollinated. Vigorous long-standing 2–3' plants tolerate a wide variety of weather conditions. Broad silvery-white midribs with a crispy sweet succulence and none of the oxalic aftertaste common in other chards. The deep green savoyed leaves with a mild clean flavor make a great substitute for spinach in omelettes, pasta dishes and casseroles. ②
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Salzer’s 1915 catalog opines, “Swiss chard produces more food for the table than almost any other vegetable and it also requires less care; it yields a constant crop from July to winter.” Same species as beets.
Culture: Hardy and easy to grow. Can be sown almost as soon as ground can be worked in spring. Minimum germination temperature 40°, optimum range 50–85°. Space according to use—can be direct-seeded 2" apart for baby-leaf harvest; thin to 12–16" apart for large leaves. Soften thick ribs of chard, beets and other greens by braising. Also used for microgreens.
Disease: Cercospora Leaf Spot (CLS) looks like someone shot small target-like circles in mature foliage. Prolonged periods of rain and high humidity exacerbate this disease. Rotating crops, removing plant debris, and wider row spacing for adequate air circulation are preventive measures.
Days to maturity are from emergence after direct seeding.
All greens are open-pollinated except where noted.
Culture: When to harvest greens? Research from trials conducted in England and Kenya showed looseleaf lettuce, red chard and arugula harvested in the evening had a longer shelf life than when picked in the morning.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.