How To: Grow & Eat Swiss Chard


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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

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!

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