Useful information

How to grow chard

Chard (Beta vulgaris var.vulgaris)

Chard in a different way is called leaf beet, and indeed, it is a close relative of this root crop, being a kind of common beet.

If we talk about the history of the emergence of chard in culture, then it should be noted, first of all, Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, where Swiss chard was grown very actively and in large volumes. In the process of chard cultivation, according to archaeologists and botanists, cultivated table beet appeared at about the same time.

As for our country, chard also appeared in culture a long time ago, around the 11th century, and then both the aboveground and underground parts of this plant were used for food.

 

Why chard is valuable

This culture, distinguished by its amazing unpretentiousness and cold resistance, has a number of useful properties. It is reliably known about the ability of chard to purify the blood. It is appropriate in various salads, soups, other types of dishes, as well as in canned food and marinades.

Recipes with Swiss chard:

  • Mozzarella with strawberries, Swiss chard leaves, spinach and arugula
  • Swiss chard and amaranth salad with green garlic
  • Chard and carrot cutlets with cottage cheese
  • Okroshka on kefir with chard stalks, carrots and turnips
  • Swiss chard cabbage rolls
  • Chard petiole garnish
  • Swiss chard salad
  • Chard with onions and peppers

Cultural biology

The chard plant is biennial, but is often grown as a regular annual.

The seeds of this culture, similar to those of beets, sprout already at a temperature of about + 5 ° C, and the seedlings can be seen 10-12 days after sowing the seeds in the ground. Chard grows well at a temperature of about + 20 ° C. In this case, the seedlings can transfer frosts in -1 ... -2 degrees.

It is noteworthy that chard can grow both in an open area and in a small shade, however, it is worth considering the fact that plants develop more slowly in the shade, and leaf blades, as well as petioles, can accumulate nitrates.

Chard loves water, but this does not mean at all that the area where chard grows needs to be turned into a swamp, it is enough to keep the soil in a moderately moist state.

As for the root system, it penetrates deep enough into the soil, and, if necessary, the plant can extract moisture and nutrients from the layers that are inaccessible to other vegetable crops. Having a powerful root system, Swiss chard, however, cannot be considered a "gluttonous" crop, it takes out a small amount of nutrients from the soil, but, naturally, it will grow better, on well-fertilized soils and responds well to additional fertilizing during the season. However, you should not use a lot of fertilizers containing nitrogen, this can lead to the accumulation of nitrates.

As for the acidity of the soil, chard prefers neutral soils, on such a soil it can easily yield a yield of about 3-5 kg ​​per square meter, and new varieties give a larger yield per unit area.

 

Chard (Beta vulgaris var.vulgaris)

 

What is chard

Chard can be silvery-petiolate, red-petiolate and leafy.

  • Silver-stemmed chard is very beautiful, reaches half a meter in height, has wrinkled leaf blades with clearly distinguished white veins and rather fleshy petioles that have a silvery color.
  • Red-peted chard differs only in that it has slightly thinner red petioles. Taste slightly worse than silver peeled chard.
  • Leafy chard has more massive leaf blades than the two preceding chard, which are also more tender and fleshy. The youngest leaf blades are eaten, often not having time to fully unfold.

About varieties - in the article Chard varieties

Chard silver-stemmedRed-peted chardChard

How to grow chard

Pick-up location... The first step is to select a site where previous crops suitable for chard grew - in fact, this is everything except spinach, cabbage and beets. Also, you cannot plant chard after chard; you can plant it in the same place no earlier than in a couple of years.

As for neighboring crops, crops belonging to the Haze family are considered the most suitable (vegetable quinoa, vegetable spinach, giant scrub, whole-leaf scrub).

Mangold and quinoa vegetable in a decorative vegetable gardenChard red in a decorative garden

The soil... After choosing a site, we begin to prepare the soil, it should be dug up onto a full bayonet of a shovel, while removing the maximum number of roots and parts of weeds, and leveled with a rake, breaking all the clods. You need to select well-lit and leveled soil areas for Swiss chard.

Fertilizers... When preparing the soil in autumn, it is strongly recommended to add manure or compost to the soil in an amount of 3.5-4.0 kg per square meter for digging.

Next time, feeding can be done with nitroammophos in the amount of a tablespoon per sq. meter and carry it out in the spring 15 days before sowing the seeds.

Sowing seeds... It is permissible to sow Swiss chard seeds directly into the ground, when a positive temperature above + 5 ° C is established, or to pre-grow seedlings, thereby bringing the time of harvesting closer to 25-30 days.

Usually, in central Russia, chard is sown, starting in April, by embedding seeds in the soil to a depth of about 2 cm, and on sandy soil - 0.5 cm deeper. A distance of 45 cm is left between the rows, and 2-3 cm between the plants. Young seeds can be sown without presoaking, and it is advisable to soak seeds that are not credible in damp gauze for a couple of days.

It takes a month to grow seedlings, at this age it can be planted in the ground at a time when the risk of recurrent frosts will be minimal. If there is a danger of frost, then the bed must be covered with non-woven material.

 

Care. As soon as the seedlings reach a height of 2 cm, they will need to be thinned so that about 30 cm of free space remains between the petiole varieties, and about 10 cm between the leaf varieties.

Subsequent care consists of loosening the soil between the rows, preventing the formation of a soil crust, weed control and watering. If peduncles appear, then they must be broken out.

When the time comes for harvesting, after each collection of leaves or petioles, the plants need to be watered and a teaspoon of nitroammophoska added per square meter of plantings, in a dissolved form.

 

Chard (Beta vulgaris var.vulgaris)

Harvesting. Chard leaves can be torn off or cut off, preventing them from overgrowing, usually young leaves are in the middle of the rosette, and older ones at the edges.

Mangold is practically not stored, and it is best to use the harvested crop on the day of harvest, but if there is an urgent need to preserve it, then the leaves must be washed and, without drying, put in plastic bags and placed in the refrigerator, where they can lie for a couple of days.