Chard, Leaf Beet Beta vulgaris var. cicla
Chard is a biennial plant belonging to the chenopods. It has the same lineage as our cultivated beets, a beach-growing white beet, Beta vulgaris maritima, and was cultivated long before the root evolved into something edible. The oldest finds are at least 4000 years old and it was very common with the Greeks and Romans.
Chard is very easy to grow, but prefers to grow in a deep, humus-rich and well fertilized soil. Prefers growing near bush beans, onions and cabbage, but does not mix well with pole beans and mustard plants. See also under beetroot.
SOWING: Sow directly in open ground, 1-2 cm deep when the soil has become a bit warmer. If sown too early in cold soil, the amount of bolting increases.
DISTANCE: between plants 10-20 cm and 35-50 cm between rows.
HARVEST: Break off the outer leaves at the base, when needed. The leaves are generally used as spinach and the thick stalks can be cooked like asparagus. Chard can be harvested well into autumn and frozen after parboiling or dried in low heat. Covered with organic material, it can overwinter in a large part of the country and provide an early spring harvest before it begins to flower. Small fresh leaves are good raw.
SEEDS: 1 g contains 50-70 seeds. A portion sows several metres. For 100 metres, 30-40 g is needed.