How To: Grow & Eat Swiss Chard
Yesterday, my sis, my sis-on law, and I harvested a bunch of awesome goodies from the community garden that I grow in Deering Bay. One of the veggies that had taken off like gang busters (I actually have no idea what that phrase means, I think it was before my time LOL) was the Swiss Chard!
Swiss Chard is similar to leaf lettuce in the way that it grows and looks, but it has a slightly different taste and usually has very pretty colored stems. There are lots of different varieties you can grow too.
I purchased my seeds from www.johnnyseeds.com
Swiss Chard grows well in Florida's Fall growing season (September through April). Our growing season is basically the opposite of the Northern States. Most varieties like a little cooler weather, but they can take some heat (which is why they still keep growing throughout our hot March & April in South FL).
You can purchase small plants (starters) and plant those directly, but I find it very easy to grow from seed, so I usually purchase a package and sprout them that way :) You can plant new seeds every couple of weeks to make sure you have a continual harvest for months and months. It will take about 5 weeks before you can begin clipping leaves if you are growing from seeds. Make sure to leave about 2-4" of space in between seeds and plants. One seed = one mature plant. so there's no need to dump the whole package into one hole/area.
When harvesting, just like Leaf Lettuce, you can cut off individual leaves. General rule of thumb: try no to harvest more than 30% off any one plant at a time. After trimming from a particular plant, give that plant a week or two to grow new leaves before harvesting off that same plant again. If you grow more than one plant at a time, this makes switching up when you trim which plant much easier, and lets you have a continual harvest every week.
Usually, I mix up the Swiss Chard leaves in my salads and chop it all up into smaller pieces, but my sisters asked me good question: "So, what else can you do with it?" Well, I think that's a damn good question that I'm sure a lot of people don't know, including me! So here are some ideas for eating and cooking swiss chard!