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Chard is a member of the beet family that does well in both cool and warm temperatures. It can be cooked or used raw in salads and is high in vitamins A and C.


  • Plant chard seeds 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10-day intervals for a month.
  • For a fall harvest, plant chard seeds again about 40 days before the first fall frost date.
  • Before planting, mix 1 cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil for every 20 feet of single row.
  • Plant the seeds ½ to ¾ of inch deep in well-drained, rich, light soil. Space the seeds about 18 inches apart in single rows or 10 to 18 inches apart in wide rows. Sow eight to ten seeds per foot of row.


  • When the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin them out so that they are 4 to 6 inches apart or 9 to 12 inches apart if the plants are larger.
  • Water the plants evenly to help them grow better. Water often during dry spells in the summer. You can also mulch the plants to help conserve moisture.
  • For the best quality, cut the plants back when they are about 1 foot tall. If the chard plants become overgrown, they lose their flavor.



  • You can start harvesting when the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Cut off the outer leaves 1-½ inches above the ground with a sharp knife.
  • If you harvest the leaves carefully, new leaves will grow and provide another harvest.
  • You can cut the ribs off the chard leaves and cook them like asparagus.
  • The rest of the leaves are eaten as greens. You can cook them like spinach or eat them raw.
  • You can store chard in the refrigerator in ventilated plastic bags.

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Reader Comments

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1 year old swiss chard

I have never grown swiss chard or eaten it. Last summer I planted it but it did not really grow much, it was too shaded I think. I never pulled it up. It wintered over (in the cold, we live near Washington DC!) and it is bright green and growing like crazy right now, its over a foot tall. I assume I should cut the big leaves off which are probably not any good for eating, hoping I can soon pick smaller leaves? Or should I just cut it off to about 2-3 inches and hope it grows back?

swiss chard harvest

Swiss chard is a biennial, which means that it will go to seed the second year and then die. Many gardeners treat it as an annual, as the best harvest is usually the first year. Now that your plant has overwintered, it will produce leaves for a little while, and then start a flowering stalk to form seeds, once temperatures warm in spring. Once that occurs, the taste of the leaves may change, becoming less flavorful. Some gardeners just pick leaves as they develop until the plant bolts. When you see a flowering stalk form, you can try cutting it off to prolong harvest of the leaves. You can harvest both the large leaves and the young, tender ones; it depends on preference (large leaves are nice boiled or steamed, whereas baby leaves are tasty in salads). Cutting from the outer part of the plant will encourage new leaves to form in the center. If you pick selectively, allow some leaves (at least 30 to 40 percent) for the plant to make food for itself to grow more leaves. You can try cutting it completely back as well, as long as it seems to be healthy; but this will delay harvest. Meanwhile, warming temperatures may spur the plant to go to seed.


If you dig up the chard plant in the fall and keep it through the winter in a cool place can you replant it the next spring?

swiss chard transplant

Hi, Cindy, Yes, it’s not the norm, but Swiss chard can be dug up and overwintered if you live in a place where there are hard freezes which threaten their survival. We’re assuming you’re transplanting from the outdoor garden into a greenhouse. Heat at a low of around fifty degrees. When you first transplant, the chard will look limp but it should rebound!

chard the best for garden

chard the best for garden plantations . it last for meny many months. it is a beautiful vegetable too. plant it you wont be desapointed. I am telling you. Arturo

Can Chad grow in Mumbai,

Can Chad grow in Mumbai, India?
I planted one seed, brought from Australia. A small red shoot appeared in 14 days. But I do not know whether it will grow to proper size.

Magenta Swiss Chard was

Magenta Swiss Chard was purchased to give my hanging baskets (Zone 8) some "life" during the coming winter. Are these plants "winter hardy" in hanging baskets? SW exposure with 4-5 hrs. sun, 1200 to dusk.

Swiss chard is a semi-hardy

Swiss chard is a semi-hardy plant and will tolerate light frost. Depending on your winter temps you may want to bring the baskets inside if a hard freeze is in the forecast.

I read somewhere online to

I read somewhere online to try growing swiss chard indoors in a sunny window. any truth to this?

Hi Joanne, Yes, Swiss chard

Hi Joanne,
Yes, Swiss chard is very easy to grow indoors. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in water before planting to speed up germination. Place the container in a sunny window and you'll have baby chard growing in a week or two.

I grow chard every year and

I grow chard every year and it does very well for me , in some mild winters I can mulch and I can get it to return the next season

Botanical Name: 

Beta vulgaris

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

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