|Red Chard-Edible & Ornamental|
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Chard has been around for centuries. It hails from Sicily and was known as sicula. No one is quite sure how it became known as Swiss Chard.
Chard is a wonderful green, chock full of vitamins. It can be eaten when small in salads. The large leaves can be harvested for steamed/cooked greens. The stems can be steamed or braised as a substitute for celery.
It is a perennial in our Midwest garden. It grows in all seasons. Only the coldest weather kills it back to the ground, if not covered. It is one of the first thing to sprout in the spring.
For the mildest taste, plant chard in fertile soil and do not let get water stressed.
It is also ornamental if you pick one of the many beautiful colored ribs-shades of red, orange, pink, yellow.
Chard handles the summer heat. Like most greens, the more you harvest it, the longer before it bolts. Even with seed heads, the taste does not become too strong when steamed. You should harvest the outer, lower leaves frequently to stimulate new center leave growth.
|"Perpetual Spinach" Chard|
As it gets warmer, the white ribbed Chard in our flower bed, "Perpetual Spinach", remains mild in taste.
Chard can grow in about any condition or soil, even shade. For the best growth, fertilizer, compost and water are rewarded. To keep the taste mild in summer heat, keep chard watered.
For the most succulent leaves, harvest in the morning or right after a rain.
Chard is a power house of nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B6, thiamine, C, E, K; contains fiber, carotenes, chlorophyll, and several minerals-potassium, iron, manganese, calcium, selenium, zinc, niacin, folic acid and even protein. To top it off, chard is very alkalizing for the body and considered one of the most potent anti-cancer foods.