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Growing Leaf Beet and Swiss Chard

How to grow leaf beet & Swiss chard in containers, garden beds and allotments

 

Leaf Beet and Swiss Chard

Family/Latin Name

Chenopodiaceae - Beta vulgaris var. cicla

Type of Plant

Leaf - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Garden Beds, containers and Allotments


Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants

 

Plant Dimensions

Height Up to 45cm/18" - Spread up to 30cm/12"

Yield per 1.5m/5ft row
Yield per plant
+1.8kg/4lb
+250g/9oz

Time between sowing and harvesting

12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors -  in open ground or containers

Sowing time

April  - temperature   +12C/54F. 

How to Sow

2.5cm/1" deep, 10cm/4" apart -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

After Germination

When the plants are large enough to handle, thin to 15cm/6" apart

Growing on -  in Pots

Keep weed free and well watered

Growing on- in ground

Thin to 30cm/12" apart. Keep weed free and well watered

Aftercare

Keep weed free and well watered. Remove any flower heads which may appear although this is unlikely.

Harvesting

Swiss Chard - start harvesting a few leaves with their  stalks from each plant when they have  reached a suitable size (about 20cm/8")  Harvest outer leaves leaving central foliage to develop.

 

Leaf Beet - Start harvesting a few leaves from each plant when they have  grown to about 10cm/4". Harvest outer leaves leaving central foliage to develop.


Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Slugs
Indications Young leaves are eaten - sometimes completely missing
Treatment Organic
1. Sink small pots filled with beer to ground level. Empty daily
2. Sprinkle slugs with table salt
Chemical
Use slug pellets
Prevention  Avoid damp or humid sites

 Companion Flower Graphic

Strawberry, Cauliflower, Celery

 

Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies". To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Refrigerate for up to 4 days 

Preparing:  Remove any very thick stalks on leaf beet and wash well in cold water.Young small leaves can be cooked whole - shred or roughly chop larger leaves.  The stems of chards are edible but if they have very thick stems, they are best  treated as as two separate vegetables  - the stems and the leaves - because the stems take longer to cook than the leaves. Snap or cut off the stems, wash well then cut into chunks, slices or dice/chop.

Cooking

Boil

Leaves  =   3-4 minutes. They should be placed in a dry pan with only the water which is clinging to the leaves from having been washed. Cover with a lid and set over a medium/high heat. It will be necessary to shake the pan vigorously or turn the leaves every 20-30 seconds during cooking.

Chard Stems  = 4 - 8 minutes

Fry/Sauté

Leaves  =   3-4 minutes. Stir-fry until just wilted

Chard Stems  = 4 - 8 minutes  Thinly slice or chop

Microwave

Leaves  = 4-5 minutes
Chard Stems  = 5 - 8 minutes

Steam

Leaves  =   5 - 8 minutes

Chard Stems  = 10 - 15 minutes  Thinly slice.


For more preparation and cooking information about Swiss chard or leaf beet  plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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