The most common method for how to pick chard is to cut off the outer leaves 1 ˝ to 2 inches above the ground while they are young and tender (about 8 to 12 inches long). Older leaves are often stripped off the plants and discarded to allow the young leaves to continue to grow. Be careful not to damage the terminal bud.
Harvest Swiss chard when the leaves are tender and big enough to eat. Swiss chard is ready for picking 30 days after sowing if you want baby leaves. Harvest chard 45 to 60 days after sowing if you want full-sized leaves with a thick midrib.
Similarly, how do you trim Swiss chard? How to Cut Swiss Chard
Chard is a biennial plant, meaning it has a two year life cycle, but it is cultivated as an annual in the vegetable garden and harvested in its first season of growth. Once it begins to flower and set seed in its second year, its leaves turn bitter and unpalatable.
Provided the growing point is not damaged, all leaves can be cut off to within 2 inches of the soil. Harvesting chard is best done with a clean and sharp pair of garden scissors or a knife. New leaves will grow quickly. Swiss chard can be stored for one to two weeks if refrigerated.
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Both vegetables and flowers will benefit from growing Swiss chard with them. Tomatoes do very well around Swiss chard as do roses. The best plants for the Swiss chard to grow with, however, would be beans, anything in the cabbage family, and onions.
Swiss chard is best fresh, but it can be frozen for up to a year if it's properly prepared. Blanch (boil) Swiss chard stalks for two minutes and the leaves for one minute. Place them in the ice water immediately after blanching to stop the cooking process.
Pull out the bolted plants and sow more chard seeds in their place. This way you get rid of the plants that have bolted, and you will get a new crop in the fall. Just know that these new seedlings may need a little shade to keep them cool in the heat of mid- or late-summer.
Fertilizer Requirements You can use an organic fertilizer such as blood meal (12-0-0) around the base of the plants. Apply the blood meal at a rate of 1 tablespoon per square foot and rake it into the top 1 to 3 inches of the soil, and then water the soil to fully incorporate it.
To cut your scape, wait until the center stalk completely forms and grows above the rest of the plant. As it grows up it will begin to curl or spiral upward. At that point, cut the stalk as far down as you can without cutting any leaves off.
Plants tolerate heat well as long as you keep them properly watered. Growing Swiss chard works best in rich, moist soil with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Plant about 12 to 18 inches apart in fertile soil, watering directly after planting.
7 Things You Can Do with Swiss ChardSautéd. A traditional take on greens is to braise or sauté them with garlic or other aromatics. Salad. Remove the stems and compost or save for another dish. Baked. Here's a different take on swiss chard – bake the greens and stems under local pasture-raised pork chops! Creamed. Grain Salads. Frittata. Soup.
Swiss chard will technically freeze just as easily without blanching, but the end result won't be as good. Blanching doesn't take too long, but make sure you have your bowl of ice all set up so you can put the chard in the ice as soon as it's done in the hot water.
Swiss chard plants can grow up to two feet (60 cm.) in a season if they get enough water!
Swiss chard container gardening can be done with just chard or in combination with other plants. Swiss chard can also be grown in a pot indoors during the colder months for a constant supply of nutritious greens. It is very easy to grow and tolerates poor soil, negligence on your part and is frost hardy.
Sauté Swiss chard over medium heat. Then, add the Swiss chard stems and cook them for 2-3 minutes before you add the chard leaves. You can even chop the stems into 4-inch parts to manage them more easily. Continue cooking the chard for up to five minutes until it's tender.
Eating Swiss Chard. Swiss chard leaves are tender and have a taste similar to beet greens and spinach. While some may find the leaves slightly bitter, they are less vegetal in flavor than kale. The crunchy stems are slightly sweet and have a similar taste and texture with bok choy stems.
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