Beta vulgaris (cicla group)
800–2,000 seeds/oz. 1⁄16 oz packet sows 5–13 ft; 1 oz plants 80–200 ft.
Culture: Hardy and easy to grow. Direct seed 2" apart. Same species as beets. 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.” Plants will grow quite large. 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.
Minimum germination temperature 40°, optimum range 50–85°.
Days to maturity are from direct seeding.
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.