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Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Incredibly useful in the winter veg patch, when its wonderful colours are most welcome, chard is incredibly good for you and is cooked like spinach. It is in effect two vegetables in one – you can enjoy both the leaves and the coloured stems. It is also easy to grow.

  • Chard will grow in most reasonable soil, but will grow better and produce more in soil that has had some compost and general fertiliser added. Try adding a general fertiliser 1-2 weeks before sowing/transplanting.
  • Chard and perpetual spinach are both types of beetroot grown for their leaves.
  • There are two options when growing chard: growing for baby leaf ‘cut-and-come-again’ crops or growing for large plants.
  • Sowings can be made from April to July.
  • Baby leaf crops should be sown direct, thinly, at 2-3cm deep in rows 20cm apart.
  • If you’re after large plants, then you should sow in module trays for later transplanting. Sow one seed per module. Transplant when 10-15cm tall, 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart.
  • Alternatively, sow direct, thinly, 2-3cm deep in rows 30cm apart. The plants will need thinning to 15cm apart.
  • The seeds are in fact a cluster of seeds, so thinning will be required after transplanting – the thinnings can be used in the kitchen (we recommend adding to a salad or stir-fry).
  • Water if the soil becomes dry, as plants that are short of water can go to seed, which seriously reduces their productivity.
  • Baby leaf chard can be cut with scissors at 5cm from soil level. Leaves will re-grow in a week or two.
  • Larger leaves are cut from the outside in, as needed. Leaves can be left on the plant until required, though if left too long they will eventually go yellow and die back.
  • Chard is relatively immune to pests and diseases, although fungus diseases can attack older leaves in the autumn. These can be cut and discarded.
  • Chard is a very attractive plant and is often grown in flower beds. The bright yellow and red stems bring a great splash of colour to a winter border.
  • Larger chard leaves can be frozen raw for later cooking.