Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) is a tasty alternative to spinach. Highly nutritious, it can be harvested all year round. With its dramatic, colourful stems, it makes an attractive addition not only to the veg plot but to borders, too.
Discover how to grow Swiss chard.
Use Swiss chard as you would spinach, in oven bakes, tarts and risotto.
Discover some interesting facts about this brilliant vegetable, including its nutritional benefits and storage advice, below.
Did you know…
Swiss chard is not native to Switzerland but originates from further south, in the Mediterranean. It has a very high nutritional content and was revered by the Ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal properties.
The red stems of rhubarb chard (a type of Swiss chard) are a result of its rich phytonutrient content, which is rich in iron, vitamins K, A and C, plus anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Remove the leaves by pulling gently at the base of the stem. Choose fresh, green leaves, avoiding yellow or discoloured ones.
Chard has a short storage life of two to three days, so pick it shortly before you plan to use it and store the unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
How to grow
For a winter crop, sow seeds in August, indoors or outdoors. Once germinated, thin the seedlings – plants should be spaced 30cm apart. Remove any weeds growing in the surrounding soil. Leaf miners can lead to rotten, brown patches on the leaves, so try growing chard where no member of the beet family was grown the previous year and protect plants with fleece or mesh.
‘Lucullus’ is a tasty variety, with large leaves and juicy white stems. Try rhubarb chard for high yields and crimson stems. ‘Bright Lights’ has a mixture of rainbow-coloured stems.