How to Plant Chard

Overview

A member of the beet family, chard is both an ornamental and a vegetable crop in the home garden. Unlike other beets, chard is harvested for its leaves and stems which are used in dishes similar to spinach. Chard reaches impressive sizes---2 feet tall in some cases---and continues to grow into summer after other greens, such as lettuce, are no longer producing. Chard continues producing right into fall. The leaves are deep green and have white, yellow or red stalks.

Step 1

Prepare a garden bed four weeks before the last spring frost date in your area. Choose a well-drained, weed-free bed in partial shade. Work in a 3 inch layer of compost with a hoe to aid drainage and add soil nutrients.

Step 2

Sow eight to ten seeds per one foot row, sowing ¾ inch deep. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Germination takes 7 to 21 days depending on soil temperature and chard variety.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist at all times both before and after germination. Water as needed to keep the soil moist, but once a week deep watering is preferred over frequent light watering.

Step 4

Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart once they have developed their second set of leaves. Choose the strongest and healthiest appearing seedling if they are clustered. Pull up the seedlings to thin or snip them of at the soil surface with scissors.

Step 5

Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant once they are 8 to 12 inches long. Cut them off 1.5 inches from the ground.

Tips and Warnings

  • Chard leaves become bitter during the heat of summer but return to their usual flavor when the weather cools back down. Do not cut or remove the terminal bud in the center of the chard's crown.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Scissors

References

  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension
Keywords: planting chard, beet family crops, edible ornamentals

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.