I have been growing Swiss Chard for years and enjoy finding different ways to cook with it each season.I start my Swiss Chard inside under grow lights and set the tender seedlings outside with my other spring annuals. It can tolerate a bit of cold in the spring. It also can handle the heat of our humid summers. In 2012, the drought and the Swiss Chard kept on producing from Spring until December. Once it started snowing it was done producing for 2012. I have microclimates on my city lot so it will return the next year depending on where it was planted the previous year.
Swiss Chard is the perfect vegetable to mix in with herbs, flowers and other vegetables. Swiss Chard is a plant you can grow as an ornamental plant even if you don’t care for the taste. It looks beautiful planted with flowers.In 2012, I wanted a full bed of Swiss Chard, so I mixed my spring pansies, yellow marigolds ( seed from my parents yard) , and filled this area with Swiss Chard.
Swiss Chard tolerates extreme heat and cold. It just keeps on producing beautifully from spring to early winter. I have even had some survive the winter!
I usually grow Heirloom Golden Swiss Chard which is of French origin and is thought to be one of the rarest Chards grown today. I also grow another heirloom Swiss Chard called Red Rhubarb, which was, grown in the 1800’s.
I started this Swiss Chard bed in April(2012) which includes historical pansy and marigolds edging the front. I also have parsley and cilantro squeezed in the back close to the trellis of Red Japanese Long Beans which will fill in later this summer. Every year I rotate my crops so, in 2013 ,I decided to combine Swiss Chard and Kale together with dwarf cosmos, french marigolds, basil, and zinnias for an interesting display.
We have been eating Baby Swiss Chard in our salads since April. Swiss Chard can be sautéed, blanched, stewed, baked and even grilled. You can add Swiss Chard to many dishes as you would other greens. Swiss Chard can be added to salads, pizza,casserole, and soups. It is packed with nutrition!
Here, is one of my favorite sites for nutritional information on food
One of my favorite things to do with Swiss Chard is saute it with onions, chives, parsley and other greens from the garden. I usually put it in a wrap for brunch and side dress it with salsa.
This year, our Swiss Chard, took a beating at the beginning of the season. Here, it is looking much better weaving in and out with Kale, Calendula, marigolds and cosmos. As I develop our sustainable urban potager, I am finding the old saying, ” if you build it they will come.” They are coming in droves and stealing from my potager. Every morning I find something half eaten. The other day something just tore my red Nardello peppers off the plant and munched them in half. They left the other half lying around in the garden. I had to pull some of my pepper plants out since they damaged the plant so badly. I feel like the character Mr. McGregor in Beatrix Potter’s books.The potager critters running in and out stealing my food all day long!
After this year, I plan on growing a few extra flats of Swiss Chard each season. Our entire back yard is fenced, but the critters will climb over the fence. You would think living in an urban area you would not have as many problems, but I believe creating a sustainable garden will attract them since they feel at home.For example, I have been improving the soil for the past 8 yrs, and now the moles are here to eat all my worms! I have learned to have a sustainable garden means learning to work + live with nature.
Eventually, after the potager critters found other “green food” our Swiss chard started taking off and looked much better. Swiss Chard can take some abuse. If it is munched to the ground in early spring just water and fertilize and it will return.
Now I have enough Swiss Chard to share…..
I found a recipe for crust less Quiche I thought that sounded interesting, so I decided to try it the other day. It was a perfect recipe for a brunch outside!
Here, is where I found the recipe. I add other greens and extra onions. Very simple and tasty!