One of the most versatile plants globally is called Swiss Chard, most commonly known as just Chard. This plant has a very appealing appearance, but it is also rich in nutritional value.
All these elements are what make Swiss Chard a great addition to your garden.
Moreover, Swiss Chard grows well in cold and warm weather and is usually grown from the ground.
Can you grow Swiss Chard in a raised bed? Yes, you can! Swiss Chard does well in raised beds. Check the soil requirements, weather conditions, then get the spacing, fertilizing and water cycles right! Use organic pesticides, and a little maintenance goes a long way with this plant.
Swiss Chard Background
To begin with, Swiss Chard comes in a beautiful combination of pink, yellow, orange, red, and white hues. It’s a member of the beet family, and you can eat the stems either cooked or raw. Swiss Chard has many names, such as leaf beet, seakale beet, silverbeet, and spinach beet.
This unique plant is best grown during the cooler season when it actively grows, but its versatility makes it tolerant of heat conditions. Despite its tolerance to heat, its growth is not the same as during the cooler season because it’s a fact that the growth of Swiss Chard considerably slows down in the heat of summer.
Yet, it is never a reason to back down because Swiss Chard can be your go-to salad ingredient in summer when other plants won’t thrive in the heat.
In terms of nutritional value, this plant is filled with vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and K, gaining the title of a superfood.
Aside from its vitamin contents, Swiss Chard tastes delicious and does seem to have a better taste compared to other greens out there that most people don’t like.
To those people who hate kale or spinach, Swiss Chard is the substitute for it, and you should try its deliciousness!
Growing Swiss Chard In Raised Beds
Interestingly, Swiss Chard is a great choice to grow in raised beds. They are thriving plants which makes it easy to take care of them.
We already know they respond well to growing in raised bed. Let’s examine the conditions, however.
Mainly, raised beds are growing beds that are lifted from the ground through concrete or wood, enclosing the soil and keeping it together.
In a nutshell, a raised growing bed is an elevated soil for growing plants.
People prefer to use raised beds for various reasons. It could be for landscape purposes or that the soil in their area is not fertile, or because of tremendous grass growth.
How to Grow Swiss Chard in Raised Beds
1. Soil Requirements
Whether growing from the ground, raised beds, or containers, it is always important to know the soil requirements of the plants you want to grow.
Swiss Chard prefers nutrient-rich soil, so you’d need to add appropriate fertilizer or organic compost to the soil. In terms of pH level, this plant needs to have at least 6.0 to 6.8 soil acidity.
Another essential aspect to remember when growing in raised beds is the drainage system. Swiss Chard loves well-drained soil, so you’d need to prepare the raised bed accordingly.
A well-drained soil helps the plants to soak in water while ensuring that all nutrients are absorbed.
2. Weather Conditions
The following items are the weather conditions. It would be best to plant the Swiss Chard during the spring because they will continue to produce throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Again, there is no problem when they are exposed to heat even in the summer because of their heat tolerance, but you have to reinforce them with regular bouts of watering.
The ideal spacing for Swiss Chard is about 12 to 18 inches apart – also applicable for in-ground planting.
For containers, make sure that the size is appropriate for the plant and place the container 12 to 18 inches apart.
The spacing for Swiss Chard can be a problem for raised beds planting because of the limited space of raised beds.
Most raised beds are moderate in size, so you will need to adjust the number of Swiss Chard to grow in your raised bed. But if you are OK with producing small batches of Swiss Chard only, then we will have no problem whatsoever.
4. Fertilizer Guide
Swiss Chard loves nitrogen-rich organic matter like blood meal, cottonseed meal, feather meal, or composted manure. Combine any of these soil enhancers with the soil in your raised beds.
To maximize the plant, add a continuous-release fertilizer to your Swiss Chard and follow the label instructions as you go.
Aside from fertilizers, you have to add organic mulch such as finely ground leaves, or wheat straw, or finely ground bark around the plant to discourage weed growth. T
This can also serve as moisture retention for the plants, which is essential during the summer season.
5. Watering Cycle
Swiss Chard needs to be watered regularly, especially during the summer season. Like most plants, Swiss Chard works well when supplied with enough water. About 1 to 1.5 inches every week is adequate.
However, you have to adjust the amount of water to apply after raining to avoid waterlogging.
Remember, the organic mulch retains the moisture from the rain, so you don’t have to put more water.
You can measure the amount of water in the soil using a rain gauge to know the precise amount of water to apply to the plant.
Swiss Chard Maintenance
Since Swiss Chard is an easy to handle plant, it doesn’t need your every attention and can be let alone to get on with the business of growing.
The maintenance of these plants mainly consists of preventing or eradicating pests. Most plants can be a victim of pests, including Swiss Chard.
Pests like aphids, mites, or caterpillars can attack them.
Aside from the pests, Swiss Chard is susceptible to a disease of the leaves, and its name is Cercospora Leaf Spot.
It’s a disease that will disfigure the leaves of the plants creating ash grey spots with purple edges.
Also, the condition can cause the leaves to get mildew, making a mildew-like growth on the foliage.
Fear not, because here are the steps to troubleshoot the plants:
The obvious answer to get rid of pests is no other than applying pesticides. However, this option may not be feasible for those who want to keep the plants organic or free from chemicals. In that case, the next step might work for you.
7. Create An Organic Pesticide
There are many ways to keep everything organic—even pesticides. The most common organic pesticide is ground chillies in the water.
Spray the mixture on the plants, and this will get rid of the pests that cause this dreadful disease.
But you don’t have to make organic pesticides right after you plant your Swiss Chard. It would be best if you first observed whether or not there is any presence of pests.
If there is, take them out immediately to prevent them from multiplying and causing more damage.
For disease management, here are the steps to remember:
1. Avoid watering late at night to reduce free moisture
2. Avoid overhead watering because the water can dislodge and disperse to
3. Follow the proper spacing for better air movement and reduce high humidity levels.
4. Cut the infected leave to prevent infecting the other leaves.
5. Apply fungicides, if necessary.
Fungicides can manage Cercospora leaf spot because they contain active
ingredients like chlorothalonil and myclobutanil, which are known to treat the
bacteria that’s causing the disease.
Tips on How To Harvest Swiss Chard
After you successfully grow your Swiss Chard – we congratulate you on doing a great job!
Now comes the harvesting process.
Here are the tips when harvesting Swiss Chard:
1. You can harvest them when they are already mature or still young and tender (below 4 inches tall).
2. This is the beauty of Swiss Chard—the young leaves can be used in salads while the bigger leaves can be used in stir-fry dishes.
3. Aside from the leaves, the stems can is edible as well.
4. Once you cut the leaves from the plant, they will continue to produce new leaves.
5. You can harvest them while still young or wait until they mature. Everything is up to you and the food you want to eat.
6. Cut them right around one and a half to two inches above the ground,
depending on whether you want younger leaves or older leaves.
7. On an important note, if you prefer eating younger leaves, you can cut the older leaves and discard them.
8. This will encourage new leaf growth. Harvest them once they are about 8 to 12 inches tall.
9. Don’t forget to use a sharp knife or a very sharp pair of scissors when harvesting Swiss Chard.
Enjoy the farming of Swiss Chard. Appreciate eating of all that nutrition contained in those leaves, and savor the deliciousness!
Relish your Swiss Chard in every way. Have fun growing it. If you follow the correct instructions, It’s a plant that delivers – every time!
Scarce are the plants you can honestly say that about! Swiss Chard is genuinely one of them. Enjoy!