Chard, also known as leaf beet, has leaf stalks of bright colours. So, it is also an aesthetic plant that is also easy to grow. Although it’s similar to spinach, sowing chard once produces the crop for several months. You can use the young leaves of chard in salads. On the other hand, you can cook the larger leaves.
The best place to grow chard is open and sunny sites. However, you can also grow them in summer.
· Ensure that the soil is moisture retentive, mineral-rich and drained free.
· Add homemade compost or any other organic matter in winter or autumn to improve the soil.
· Add two handfuls of high potash fertiliser in each square metre/yard.
· Sow the seeds thinly from March to July.
· Mae sure you have sown the chard in the depth of 1 inch.
· Ensure that seeds are 4 inches apart in the rows which are 18 inches apart.
· Sow the seeds two times a year. Once in April and then in July.
· Sow the seeds in trays or modules indoors.
· Transplant the plants outdoors when they are large enough.
· Sow small batches of chard every two weeks if you want to pick the mini leaves for salads.
· Sow in April to August to have cut-and-come-again crops.
Thin out the seedlings to ensure that they are 1 ft apart. However, the mini leaves should be at least 2 inches apart.
· Water the chard regularly in dry spells.
· Apply mulch around the plants’ base to make the soil damp and warm. It will help in moisture retention and weed suppression.
· Use cloche to cover the plants in October.
· Use a straw to protect the crown. Afterwards, you must cover it with fleece.
You can pick the individual plants for several months. But, most importantly, you can harvest the chard in most of the year if you have sown them in spring and then in mid-summer.
Trim the outer leaves first when they’re tender and young. Afterwards, trim the leaves present in the centre.
· Harvest the plants regularly so that plants continue to regrow.
· Pick cut-and-come-again crops when they are at least 2 inches tall.
· Cut the mini leaves once they reach a suitable size.
Downy mildew gets worse in humid and mild weather conditions. It results in unappetising leaves. However, for well-grown plants, this disease is only a problem in wet weather.
The densely sown and ”cut and come again” veg crops are more vulnerable to the downy mildew.
· Sow the plants thinly in warm weather conditions.
· Ensure proper ventilation and enough space around the seedlings.
· Choose mildew-resistant cultivars.
· Water the plants at their base.
Grey mould is fuzzy and grey fungal growth. It starts with discoloured patches. It mainly occurs in humid or damp conditions. The damaged parts of the plants are responsible for the entry of spores into plants.
Mould is also dangerous for ripening fruits, such as strawberries. The black spores of the mould stay throughout the winter.
- Remove the damaged parts of the plant as soon as possible.
- Clear all the debris infected with the mould.
- Reduce humidity in greenhouses. You can do so by avoiding the overcrowding of seedlings and young plants. Moreover, the ventilation of the greenhouses is an excellent option to keep mould away from your plants.
Vegetables, leaves, buds, fruit and seedlings are the parts the birds eat the most. So, you must take preventive measures to save your plants.
- Bird-scaring or scarecrows helps prevent the birds’ attack.
- Use net or fleece to cover the plants.
Check out some recipes for chard from Delicious Magazine
For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.