Swiss chard provides winter color, food for your plate

Courtesy Swiss Chard.

Come to our IDEA Garden in winter and you are bound to see Swiss chard growing happily even in the coldest part of the winter.

Our pansies and snaps often balk until the temperature warms some, but Swiss chard is one of our favorite and reliable sources of winter color. We plant chard for its beautiful stems and bright green foliage. If you don't like this red-stemmed variety, you can choose from many colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange and other shades of red.

Swiss chard grows to about 18 inches tall sending its beautifully puckered leaves enriched with fabulous bright stems, straight up into the sunshine.

The great thing about Swiss chard besides its color is its edibility. Chard is a true vegetable that can be cooked as greens, stir fried or eaten raw in salads. The lovely stems and leaves add color and crunch to salads. They have a very mild taste that blends well with all other greens.

Easily grown from seeds, Swiss chard can also be found as transplants in nurseries and garden centers. They are actually in the beet family and their seeds look like beets. So when planting, remember each seed will make three to four plants.

You can plant the whole lot as one plant or separate them. Set the plant up to just under the first leaves to anchor it in the soil. Give chard good rich garden soil in full sun and enjoy the beauty of the plant as well as have fun "stealing" a few leaves to eat in winter salads.





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