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Growing Swiss Chard

Colorful, Tasty Greens to Add In Your Garden

Subspecies: Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla

growing swiss chardSwiss chard is one of the leafy green vegetables often referred to as ‘greens.’ Some other popular greens are kale, collards and mustard.

Chard grows on thick stalks and the leaves come in a wide variety of colors. The leaves and leafstalks are edible and nutritious. Chard can be substituted for spinach in baked dishes and in salads.

Growing Swiss chard can be done in a garden or in flower beds, as an ornamental and edible plant. Read on for a detailed guide on how to grow Swiss chard.


Swiss Chard needs rich soil with good drainage. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch, and at a distance of 3 – 4 inches from each other. Once Chard germinates, the seedlings should be thinned to 12 inches between plants and 12 inches between rows. Chard needs to be thinned differently than most vegetables. Choose which seedlings will be removed and cut them off at the soil, rather than pulling them out. The rows should be mulched to prevent weeds and to keep lower leaves from laying in the dirt.

Individual leaves can be harvested as soon as they are the right size. Cut 2 or 3 leaves from plants for immediate use. If the whole plant is being harvested, cut at the soil surface. If taking whole plants, new seed should be planted every few weeks, for a season long harvest.

If individual plants are left in the ground for very long without harvesting, they should be trimmed back to 5 inches, so the plant will produce new leaves.


Rhubarb and Ruby Red are both burgundy varieties with good flavor, but should not be planted until after last frost as they may bolt if exposed to frost.

Bright Lights is a good variety for starting seeds indoors, will produce early and comes in multiple colors for a beautiful garden or edible landscape arrangement. Plant the different colors of Bright Lights early and often and enjoy the rainbow effect in your garden or in a flower bed.

Fordhook Giant is considered the standard of the green leaved Swiss Chards. The leaves are crinkled and grow on white stems.


A direct and steady spray of water will displace aphids from the plants. This should be done before the sun is directly overhead so leaves will not rust or be scorched.

Use row covers to prevent leaf miners.