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Beta vulgaris  • 

Photo: Chard

Photo: Chard

General description

Swiss chard is a leafy vegetable that favors colder weather. It isn't difficult to grow.

Plant requirements

Swiss chard only needs 50-degree soil to germinate, and the plants are quite cold hardy, so in many places it's not too late to start some seeds for a late fall/early winter crop.

The plants are also pleasing to the eye, so you can tuck a few almost anywhere. Swiss chard does exceptionally well in containers, which means even apartment dwellers have no excuse not to try growing some. Containers should be at least 12 inches deep and 12 inches across; three or four plants will fit comfortably in a 14-inch-wide pot.


Before planting, soak seeds in warm water for 15 minutes to speed up germination. Sow seeds 1/2-inch deep and a few inches apart directly in the garden when the soil is at least 50°F.

Thin seedlings so they are 4 to 5 inches apart, or 8 to 10 inches apart if you plan to only harvest the outer leaves.

Plants do best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. They can endure light frosts in spring and moderate freezes in fall.

Practical use

Swiss chard is bursting with nutrients, including vitamins K, A, C and E, plus several B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. It's a good source of calcium and contains promising cancer-fighting properties. Throughout history, various parts of the plant have been used to treat everything from ulcers to dandruff.


30 - 50 cm
Full sun


1 variety of this plant