Last modified on 20 September 2011, at 17:37

Chard

Chard

Chard
Swiss Chard.jpg
Binomial: Beta vulgaris
Genus: Beta
Family: Amaranthaceae
Variety: Cicla
Light requirements: Full sun to light shade
Soil requirements: light, neutral to slightly acid

Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), also known as Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Perpetual Spinach or Mangold, is a leaf vegetable, and is one of the cultivated descendants of the Sea Beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima. While used for its leaves, it is in the same species as the garden beet, which is grown primarily for its roots.

DescriptionEdit

Chard has shiny green ribbed leaves, with stems that range from white to yellow and red depending on the cultivar. It has a slightly bitter taste. The leaves are generally treated in the same way as spinach and the stems like asparagus. Fresh young chard can also be used raw in salads.

Modern cladistic botanical taxonomic systems such as that of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group place chard and the other beets in family Amaranthaceae, but the older systems more likely to be encountered in horticultural sources place them in a family Chenopodiaceae.

Growing ConditionsEdit

Chard will grow in ordinary garden soil but, like beets, it is best to keep the pH above 6. It may be planted in rows or in beds similarly to spinach but is not susceptible to bolting and can tolerate both hot and cold conditions.

VarietiesEdit

Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant', as well as red-ribbed forms such as 'Ruby Chard', 'Rainbow Chard', and 'Rhubarb Chard'.

UsesEdit

The leaves can be chopped,cooked and consumed as green vegetables or can be picked young and tender for making green salad

MaintenanceEdit

Individual well grown plants can become quite large, with leaves two feet tall, but crowded plants will still produce well. The plant can be harvested, leaf by leaf, well into the fall and even after the first frosts.

PropagationEdit

Can be sawn directly from seeds that are planted 3-5cm deep,15cm between plants and 30-40cm between rows. They can also be sawn on seedbeds and transplanted to permanent beds after 2-3 weeks from emergence.

HarvestEdit

This is done at around 3-4 months from emrgence. The Mature leaves (depending on purpose of use: salad or green vegie) are pricked from the main plant and prepared accordingly for use. The plant is cabable of tillering hence the reason for pricking leaves to allow groth of new shoots than picking the whole plant.

Pests and DiseasesEdit

This a more resistant plant to pests and diseases. It is in most cases susceptible to leaf diseases such as blight and rust. For prevention and control, use of resistant varieties and treated seeds is recommended and also uprooting of infected plants to prevent spread.

ReferencesEdit