Growing Swiss Chard: Everything You Need To Know
Swiss chard is extremely healthy and is perfect for growing in home gardens. We show what you should consider when planting Swiss chard.
Swiss chard ( Beta vulgaris subsp. Vulgaris ) is a popular vegetable that not only tastes good, but also looks beautiful. Not much can go wrong with growing in your own garden – provided, of course, you know what to look for. In this article, we will therefore tell you everything you need to know about growing leafy vegetables. Here you can find out when Swiss chard is grown, where it feels particularly good, how Swiss chard should be planted and what is important when it comes to caring for it.
Whether you choose to grow long-handled chard, in which both the stems and leaves are consumed, or chard leaf, which provides leaves rich in vitamins – both should be properly sown or planted in order to grow and thrive. Fortunately, growing Swiss chard is not demanding and always works – whether in a garden bed or in a pot.
Swiss chard is a delicious and healthy vegetable that is easy to grow in the garden [Photo: Supakvadee T / Shutterstock.com]
The right time to grow Swiss chard
Swiss chard can be sown directly in the bed. But if you want to give your plants a head start, you can also prefer Swiss chard. You start with this from mid-February to the end of July. The direct sowing of Swiss chard in the garden bed starts at the beginning of April for the long-handled chard and from May for the leaf chard. The problem with sowing directly in the bed, however, is that Swiss chard often begins to shoot when it is sown in spring. Shoot means that the plant is starting to develop inflorescences. To avoid shooting, it is better to sow hardy varieties in late autumn and harvest in autumn and winter. Swiss chard can be sown in the garden bed until the beginning of September.
Tip: If you want to sow your Swiss chard at the beginning of April, you should protect it from the cold with a fleece.
The pulling forward of Swiss chard can begin as early as mid-February [Photo: Caron Badkin / Shutterstock.com]
If you have preferred your Swiss chard or if you buy young plants, they can be planted in the bed or in the pot from mid-April.
When is the best time to grow Swiss chard?
- Prefer from mid-February to the end of July.
- Direct sowing outdoors from the beginning of April to the beginning of September (long-handled chard) and from May to the end of July (leaf chard).
- Planting (after four weeks’ advance) from mid-April to the end of July.
Tip: Not all varieties are winter hardy, but Swiss chard does not develop its flowers until the second year.
The perfect location for Swiss chard
Choosing the location is very easy, because the Swiss chard has hardly any demands. However, they should be planted in a sunny, if need be, partially shaded place, because the vegetables do not get along well with shade. The existing soil should be able to store moisture well and be loose. Your Swiss chard will also be happy about a soil that is as rich in structure as possible. A high humus content in the soil and sufficient nutrients are also important to him.
Tip: Swiss chard not only tastes good, it can also be grown as an ornamental plant. Its colorful stems and differently patterned leaves are a real feast for the eyes and are therefore also suitable as a bed border or for cultivation on the balcony.
Swiss chard is also good as an ornamental plant [Photo: Arjuna Kodisinghe / Shutterstock.com]
Where is Swiss chard ideally grown?
- Sunny to partially shaded location
- Uniform moisture
- Loose, structured soil
- High humus and nutrient content
Tip: Good plant neighbors for Swiss chard are all legumes such as beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ), carrots ( Daucus carota subsp. Sativus ), radishes ( Raphanus sativus var. Sativus ), horseradish ( Armoracia rusticana ) or cabbage such as pointed cabbage ( Brassica oleracea var. Capitata ). Spinach (Spinacia oleracea ), on the other hand, doesn’t go well at all.
Here’s how you go about growing Swiss chard
To grow Swiss chard, you have to decide whether you prefer young plants yourself, buy them or sow the vegetables directly in the garden bed. Those who prefer chard have other advantages in addition to the lower risk of shooting: the chard ripens faster and even larger plants are less likely to be attacked by snails.
Prefer Swiss chard
For cultivation on the windowsill, you should use special potting soil and enrich it with a primarily organic fertilizer. Our Plantura organic universal fertilizer with long-term effects is very suitable. The seeds are placed about two to three centimeters deep in the pots with potting soil, poured on and then placed in the sun. The ideal germination temperature is between 18 and 20 ° C. The seeds should then sprout within two weeks. As soon as the seedlings are about 8 centimeters long, they can be separated.
After rising, the chard seedlings are separated [Photo: Corey O’Hara / Shutterstock.com]
How is chard correctly preferred?
- Prepare pots with potting soil
- Enrich the substrate with a mainly organic fertilizer
- Sowing depth: 1 – 2 cm
- Pouring on
- Put in a sunny place
- Germination temperature: 18 – 20 ° C
- Germination time: 14 days
Tip: Do you need more color? Our Plantura vegetable set contains, in addition to a complete set of equipment for growing, seeds for colorful vegetables: Swiss chard, radishes, tomatoes, carrots and beetroot in all colors of the rainbow.
Plant chard or sow directly
First prepare the bed for planting out in the garden and for direct sowing. Loosen it well and remove weeds or stones. In order to give the chard enough nutrients and to improve the structure of the soil, you should also work compost or a primarily organic long-term fertilizer into the soil. Our Plantura organic universal fertilizer is such a fertilizer and optimally supports your chard in its growth.
Now lay out rows at a distance of 30 to 40 centimeters. The seeds are placed at a depth of two to three centimeters and then poured. After emergence, you should separate the plants at the desired planting distance so that they have enough space to spread out. The air between the plants can also circulate this way and fungal diseases can spread less well. A row spacing of 30 to 40 centimeters also applies to planting. Now create planting holes with a distance of 30 centimeters. The plants are only placed as deep in the ground as they were in the pot. Finally, you should water everything well.
The ideal planting distance for Swiss chard is 40 x 30 cm [Photo: Hong Vo / Shutterstock.com]
Planting Swiss chard – step-by-step instructions:
- Loosen up the bed and remove weeds
- Enrich with compost or a primarily organic long-term fertilizer
- Make seed grooves at a distance of 30 – 40 cm
- Seed placement at a depth of 2 – 3 cm
- Cover the seeds with soil
- Water well
- Separate the plants after they have emerged
- Make planting holes for planting
- Plant spacing: 30 cm
- Only put plants as deep in the ground as they were in the pot
- Water well
Maintain Swiss chard
Your Swiss chard needs good care in order to grow magnificently. As an always hungry heavy eater, regular fertilization is necessary. Compost or a primarily organic slow-release fertilizer such as our Plantura organic universal fertilizer are suitable for this. This releases the nutrients gently and slowly to the plants and provides them with all the important nutrients over a long period of time. Your Swiss chard should be fertilized every six to eight weeks.
Watering is also very important when caring for Swiss chard, because the plant needs a lot of water. Therefore, keep the soil evenly moist by watering regularly. But don’t overdo it, because Swiss chard doesn’t like waterlogging at all.
Summary: Caring for Swiss chard after planting:
- Fertilize with compost or a primarily organic long-term fertilizer
- Re-fertilize every 6 – 8 weeks
- Water regularly
Those who have done everything right in cultivation will be rewarded with a rich chard harvest. You can find out how to best proceed when harvesting Swiss chard in our special article.