Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris) is a colorful and easy-to-grow leafy green. It is the same species as beet, but without the swollen root, and shares the same earthy flavor. The ruffled leaves have stalks of white, pink, gold, orange, or red, depending upon the cultivar. Swiss Chard can be sown directly into the garden in spring or late summer and will take 40 to 45 days to reach maturity. Leaves are harvested individually, in a cut and come again fashion. The culinary uses for Swiss chard are like those of spinach, with the young leaves eaten raw in salads and the mature leaves chopped and cooked in sautés, soups, stews, and sauces. Swiss Chard is a good source of vitamins C, K, A and the minerals iron and magnesium. Swiss chard is also an attractive ornamental plant and can be a complementary companion for pansies, mums, and other flowers in the landscape or a container. For more information on harvesting and storing Swiss chard, see HGIC 1262, Harvesting Vegetables.
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