Growing Swiss Chard at the Allotment

Growing Swiss Chard at the Allotment

Swiss Chard, also known as Spinach Beet, Leaf Beet and other names too is an attractive and colourful leafy vegetable, which is even easier to grow than spinach and can be harvested all year round. Swiss Chard can be grown in containers too.

Sow your seeds thinly during March – April onwards in a sunny position in well-drained soil. Add some good organic matter into the soil during the autumn prior your to sowing time. Sow the seeds approximately one inch deep in a row. You can thin out the seedlings when they are big enough to handle so that the remaining seedlings in the ground are approximately 10 inches apart. 

You can also sow a second row during the summer to provide an early harvest the following year.  

Water regularly during dry spells and keep them weed-free. You may also wish to add mulch to retain warmth and moisture and keep the weeds at bay. Slugs can be an issue for young plants however, this is remedied by itself once the plants become established. 

You can pick young leaves for making salads, this will also help with re-growth and offer your plants protection when the colder and wetter weather arrives; such as straw around the crown and fleece or cloches.  

Regularly pick leaves starting with the outer leaves, working your way in to the centre. Do not wait until all the leaves are large and mature; also pick smaller leaves to encourage reproduction. When picking the leaves and stalks, do be careful not to disturb the roots. 

Younger, smaller leaves can be eaten raw in salads and larger, more mature leaves can be cooked. The stalks are edible too; they just take a little longer to cook.

You should be able to harvest leaves until the following June, when the plant will become a bit spent but your later sowings should be coming into fruition.  When your first sowing plants are getting tired, you can add some fertiliser.

Seeing Swiss Chard on the Allotment Plot povides a very warm and welcoming burst of colour; especially during the winter months when everything looks a bit bleak!


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Growing Swiss Chard in Summary

Sowing Swiss Chard

  • Prepare soil beds with organic matter during autumn before
  • Sow thinly in March and again in July
  • You can sow in containers

Growing Swiss Chard

  • Thin out seedlings
  • Mulch and water during dry spells
  • Protect in autumn for over-wintering

Harvesting Swiss Chard

  • Pick young leaves regularly
  • Pick outer leaves working into the centre
  • Stalks are edible too