Versatile, tasty, easy to grow and pretty enough for the flower border, Swiss chard is a must-have veg for your growing space.
Growing calendar
Sow outdoors Mar - Sep
Harvest Almost all year from two sowings

This attractive leafy green is similar to spinach but can crop over many months. Varieties such as Bright Lights have beautiful stems in a rainbow of colours, making them the perfect veg to plant among your flowers.

How to grow chard

Regularly sow seed 1cm deep in containers or rows, 40 cm apart, at the veg plot. Thin or transplant seedlings to 20-30cm apart. Choose fertile soil in a sunny site. Water in dry weather for steady growth.

Individual plants can provide rich pickings for many months. Leave the plants in the ground over winter and they will sprout again the following spring. Sow again in mid-summer and you will have an almost continuous harvest.

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Beautiful stems make chard pretty and productive

Harvesting and using chard

Plants will be ready to harvest from 10-12 weeks. Young leaves can be eaten raw like spinach. Take the outer leaves first and the centre rosette of leaves will regrow several times.

Bigger leaves may require a longer cooking time or stir-frying. You can blanche leaves and freeze for later use.

Tips on growing chard

  • Relatively trouble free but loved by snails, so offer young plants some protection. Also affected by beet leaf miner flies, which create brown blotches on leaves. Try to remove maggots and net crop.
  • Mulch to conserve moisture.
  • Boost growth with a general organic fertiliser if needed.
Growing notes
Difficulty Easy
Germination time 10-14 days
Average time to harvest 8-12 weeks
Equipment needed Mulch (e.g. compost)
Average plant size 60cm tall, 30cm wide
Family group to grow with Chenopodiaceae: spinach
Seed saving notes Biennial, needs isolation
Key nutritional content Vitamins A and C, folate, iron