Plant of the Week
Swiss chard is a beautiful and delicious edible. It adds brilliant color to our flower beds and borders, like this one planted with columbine. It's also a tasty addition to many recipes.
Chard likes cool weather, though many times will hang on through summer. September and early October is a good time to re-plant from seeds or plants. If the weather is still outrageously hot, provide shade cloth or other protection.
There are many varieties, but an especially pretty one is ‘Bright Lights.' Its multi-colored stems are wonderful against other garden plants.
Grow it in sun, though it can take some shade too.
You need to water it well in the summer and harvest only the leaves that you need when you want to eat them. It will produce more leaves and may live for several seasons if you harvest judiciously.
If it bolts, which means if it produces a flower stalk, you need to remove that to encourage leaf production. That will keep the flowers from producing seeds and so keep the leaves producing for you and keep the plant from dying which it will do after it bolts. This plant is ready to harvest in about 60 days after you have seeded it. Good varieties for our areas are Bright Lights and Rainbow.