Intro: Chard plant varieties can have red, pink, yellow or orange stems, but white stems generally do the best when it comes to food crops in the kitchen garden. If you want to grow chard for ornamental purposes, choose a color that compliments your container garden. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, minerals, fiber and protein, and it is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables.
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris var. cicla
Plant Type: Biennial vegetable
Light: Full sun
Zone: Chard plants cannot survive below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If your area gets colder than this, overwinter your chard indoors.
Fertilizer: Fertilize Swiss chard only once when it is first planted.
Pests and Diseases: Leaf spot, slugs and viruses can affect Swiss chard.
Propagation: Propagate Swiss chard by seeds. Chard produces flowers and seeds in the spring of its second year of growth. Shake up dry flower heads in a paper bag to collect the seeds. Sow the seeds outdoors in the kitchen garden two weeks before the last frost or in the fall about two months before the first frost. Seeds should be planted a half inch deep in their plant containers. Soak Swiss chard seeds overnight before planting.
Misc. Info: Young chard is best for raw salads, while mature leaves are best cooked.