Grow Rainbow Mixed, Swiss Chard from freshly harvested Beta vulgaris vegetable seeds. This mixture of Swiss Chard will produce red, pink, white, yellow and orange stalks with dark green leaves above. Each stalk will mature to roughly 10 inches in length and the plants grow to a mature height of about 16 to 20 inches tall. Swiss Chard, also referred to as a leaf beet, can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked as well. The leaves of Swiss chard are mainly used as a spinach substitute and if cooked, they will give off a milder flavor.
Categorized as a beet, chosen for it's tender green foliage, all Swiss Chard varieties are descendants of Beta maritima, also known as "Sea Beets." The Sea Beet is wildly grown along the shorelines of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe. This popular heirloom dates back to the 16th century, however they were not commercially used until the 19th century. Grown both as a ornamental plant and as a food source, Rainbow Mixed Swiss Chard will establish itself for a single season, as an annual. Once harvested, the plants will die soon after.
This particular Swiss Chard variety will be ready for harvest in roughly 30 to 60 days. About 30 days for baby sized Swiss Chard & roughly 60 days full a mature sized harvest.
Sowing The Seed
Swiss Chard seeds can be sown either indoors, or directly outdoors. If started indoors, begin by soaking the seeds in hot water for roughly 20 minutes. Next, sow the seeds in peat pots, at a depth of 1/2" under topsoil, 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost. Transplant entire peat pots or direct sow outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Check "Germination & Growth" for spacing specifications.
Swiss Chard will do best in an area of full sunlight, however they will tolerate a bit of light shade. Temperatures should be around 60F to 70F for optimal germination and growth. Provide a rich, moist soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8, just make sure that the medium is well drained. To increase drainage, we recommend adding a light compost to areas containing hard, compact soil. This will also aid in preventing diseases to the leaves. Water daily with a light setting, never allowing the soil to completely dry out.
Germination & Growth
Swiss Chard seeds will begin to sprout open in roughly 7 to 14 days after sowing. The plants will grow to a mature height of 20 inches tall, producing 10 inch stalks in colors or red, yellow, orange, pink & white. Sow seeds 4 inches apart from one another, in rows spaced about 12 to 18 inches apart. It might help to sow 2 seeds together, plucking the weaker of the two once established.
Clip baby leaves 30 days after first sprouts appear, or clip adult leaves roughly 60 days after first sprouts. New leaves will establish, producing multiple harvests through the spring, summer and fall months. All thats left now is to enjoy the delicious greens of this popular heirloom Swiss Chard.