Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Vegetable Gardening: Growing Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a wonderful addition to any home vegetable garden. With the many varieties there are to grow, you can literally add a wide range of colors and flavors to salads and many other recipes. Here is how you can properly grow Swiss chard in your home vegetable garden.

I like to start Swiss chard indoors about two weeks prior to last frost of the season. This gives my seeds ample time to germinate. If you plan on starting your seeds outdoors wait at least a week after the final frost of the season. Bury your seeds no deeper than a half inch, with the soil being no cooler than fifty degrees Fahrenheit and no warmer than eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

Swiss chard likes the soil pH level to be as near neutral as possible. Keep your soil around a pH reading of 7.0 or as close as you can get without going over 7.0. To take a reading of your soil’s pH level you can simply visit your local home or garden center and pick up a basic soil testing kit for just a couple of bucks.

Regardless of whether you started the seeds indoors or outdoors, space your Swiss chard out at least eight inches to give them and their roots plenty of room to grow. Your watering of Swiss chard should be moderate and even and they grow best in full sun.

You have a couple of options for Swiss chard when they are ready to be harvested. When the leaves get to be eight to ten inches you can simply cut the leaves off and eat them or you can cut the plant off at the stem about an inch above the soil level. The second option will allow the plant to continue to grow giving you more harvests throughout the season.

Swiss chard makes a good companion plant for cabbage, legumes and lettuce and bad companions for Swiss chard are beets and spinach. Also avoid following the bad companion plants in a plant rotation cycle.

As you can see growing Swiss chard is fairly easy. Just make sure you follow the steps above and you will be well on your way to a wonderful Swiss chard crop.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike`s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.

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