Friday, July 31, 2020

A New Type of Chard


This year, I only grew one type of chard - perpetual chard.  I've also seen it go by perpetual spinach, perpetual spinach chard, beet leaf spinach or sea kale.  Perpetual chard is part of the beet family, just like Swiss Chard, but falls in a different group (Beta vulgaris Cicla Group vs. Swiss chard, with it's thick stalks, which falls in the Flavescens group).  Learn something new everyday, don't we?


Unlike "regular" chard, perpetual chard has a thin stem and the leaves are smoother.  I've also heard that it tastes similar to spinach - I'll have to report back on that once I start harvesting, which should be very soon.

Perpetual chard stems are much thinner than those of Swiss chard

Of course, the best thing about chard as compared to spinach is it's ability to withstand the summer heat, although it is supposed to suffer if temperatures exceed 30F (86F+).  So far, mine is doing just fine, even though we've had multiple days in the 30's.

I started the seeds off indoors in the spring, then transplanted them into the garden after the last frost.  I didn't have any room left in the beds that I had reserved for veg this year, so I simply transplanted them down the side of one of the "holding" beds (these are beds that I am using for transplants that will eventually end up in one of the borders).

I squeezed the perpetual chard down one side of a bed, next to the parsley

Early in the season, I usually get a lot of leaf miner damage on chard.  The best way to avoid this is by using netting, but the chards location in the bed would have made covering it a downright hassle.

Past experience tells me, however, that leaf miner pressure is most severe at the start of the season and by mid-summer, it essentially disappears.  Since I was harvesting plenty of lettuce and kale, I wasn't missing the chard, so simply let it be other than stripping the plants of damaged leaves every once in a while.

Most of the miner damage is behind us as this point in the season....

Now the chard is coming into it's own and really taking off.

One other bit of laziness that seems to not have made that much of a difference (or perhaps it did, in a good way):  Chard seeds are actually pods that contain several seeds and I didn't bother to thin the 2 or 3 seedlings that came up in each cell and just plonked each grouping into the ground, about 1 foot apart.



They certainly don't seem to be any the worse for it.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

4 comments:

  1. I wish I could say I like the taste of chard, but it hasn't happened yet! If I remember right the perpetual chard did have a milder taste.

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  2. I'm growing Swiss (rainbow) chard for the first time this year but it doesn't seem happy, probably because I'm not giving the half-barrel it's in enough water. I don't know if there will be enough to harvest.
    I appreciated your comments about leaf miner as I've had problems there, not with the chard, but with some of my dahlias.

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  3. I've only ever grown rainbow chard, I liked it because it brightened up the veg patch with it's lovely colours.I haven't grown it since I gave up the allotment though.

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  4. I sowed some of this but birds or slugs or something else decimated it. Maybe I should have started some indoors but direct sowing has worked in the past.

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