Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile with a flavor that is bitter, pungent and slightly salty. Although Swiss chard is available throughout the year, its peak season runs from June through August when it is at its best and in the greatest abundance at your local farmers market.
The succulent leaves of Swiss chard can be used much like spinach. You can even use the big one to wrap "Cabbage rolls'. The colorful stems can be cooked like asparagus. Enjoy the small leaves in salad. They grow easily and well in our climate and stand in the garden for many months, giving a long harvest from one planting.
Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach in total nutrient richness. With its very good supply of calcium and its excellent supply of magnesium and vitamin K, chard provides standout bone support.
Start with sowing sees 1/2 inch deep, spaced 4-12 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.
Swiss chard prefers loose, deep, and fertile soil rich in organic matter. Plenty of consistent moisture is required, especially as plants grow larger. It grows best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade in summer. A organic fertilizer or compost tea applied twice during summer will keep chard growing well.
Harvest for salad mix is best when the seed has been sown densely so baby leaves can be cut. Cut individual mature stalks using the larger outer ones first. These are best for cooking and sautéing.