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Swiss Chard is Perfect Vegetable for Potager

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!

10 replies »

  1. Yum! I also love swiss chard and grow it every year. One year it did come back in the spring and I am in zone 4! I grew some in my cold frame all winter and had a nice early crop. My summer crop was eaten to the ground by an unusually large rabbit herd this year but I have planted more for fall. I plant rainbow and also a golden variety. I love it sauteed with olive oil, garlic, a little bit of bacon and served over pasta with a sprinkle of nice hard cheese. That quiche looks fantastic!

    • I know the bunnies sure do love munching on our Swiss Chard! Your idea of keeping it in a cold frame over the winter is something I should try this year. I do put up some row covers, but the snow does become a problem later in the season. Your recipe with bacon sounds like a good one,too! I will have to try that one:-) robbie

  2. Robbie, your garden is so beautiful with the mix of vegetables and flowers! Swiss chard can’t survive the brutal heat here, but I’ll be planting more in my fall garden…and the quiche does look delicious.

    • Hi Marsha,
      It is fun mixing the vegetables and flowers:-) There sure are a lot of beautiful vegetables out there. I just want to try them all. I am starting to plan for next spring. Yesterday I transplanted a lot of my spring seedlings ( that are big now) into my late fall/winter garden. I find many of them transplant just as you do in the spring. I like that quiche recipe because it does not require a crust. I am a lazy cook at times:-)

  3. What a wonderfully productive and beautiful garden you have! If I can achieve even half of what you have, I will be happy! I would love to have moles come in to my garden and eat my worms, but alas, no moles in Australia 🙂

    • After reading your blog, I believe your garden will be stunning! You are working very hard. I liked the carpet idea for choking out vinca, I wish I would of used our old carpet we had years ago. It would of taken care of it right away and I would not of slipped on the cardboard when it was wet! The moles do tear up the lawn , but I have learned to live with them over the years. I don’t have a large area of grass, so I don’t mind the moles.

  4. I love growing chards too… but the temperatures are shooting up like crazy, burning up a lot of my plants… and the chard is one of them… anyway, so nice to see yours doing well…

    • I have only about 3 spaces that have a “full” sunny area. The rest of our space is covered by an old oak tree that shades it partially throughout the day. I do understand when you have full-sun and if you forget to water the plant one day, they are gone! I need to get over and visit your blog, I need some inspiration from your photos and garden!

  5. Your gardens are absolutely stunning! I am inspired now to mix flowers and edibles instead of keeping them each in their ‘designated’ spots. That’s just so pretty seeing the rainbow chard and marigolds growing together. And I must admit that I have never tried grilling swiss chard so that’s on my list for dinner if it doesn’t rain tonight. ~ sheri

    • When we first moved here I thought to put the kitchen garden back in the corner of the yard, but over the years ornamental “food” plants have been making their way into the garden beds! Food plants (herbs, vegetables and edible flowers) do not have to be in the back corner…the French have it correct when they started the concept of “potager”…but I feel in urban areas we can add our “own twist” on the potager garden by experimenting with the ones we find beautiful and tasty…so no two yards are alike.. I am moving more veggies to the front this next year, and I am taking out more “decorative” plants that do not provide much food. The great thing about Chard is it tolerates shade and those of us that live in the city with not a lot of Sun/land can grow our vegetables in shade or anyplace since they are attractive and appetizing! Do let me know how the grilled Swiss chard turns out, I am interested in new ways always to cook veggies:-)

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