Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Green’ & ’Prima Rosa’
Now is the time to start preparing your spring vegetable and herb garden, and Swiss Chard is a delicious and versatile vegetable you’ll want to include. This outstanding plant is part of the Beet family and is grown for harvesting the leaves and stalks, not the bulb. So, if you like to eat Beet Greens, Swiss Chard is a perfect addition to your garden. The leaves and stalks are highly decorative and add bright pops of color to areas of the garden that are filled with the dark greens and grays of many other cool season crops. Swiss Chard is very easy to grow and tolerates both cool and warm temperatures. Plant in full sun along the coast and mid to late-afternoon shade inland.
One really cannot adequately express how beautiful and colorful this vegetable is. ‘Bright Lights’, with its orange, scarlet, gold, crimson and magenta stalks is probably the most popular, and is often planted in mixed containers, with annuals that have similar color hues. (Think Marigolds ‘Safari Yellow’ & Lobelia ‘Trailing Sapphire’.) ‘Prima Rossa’ has brilliant ruby-red leaves and stems that make a dramatic statement when planted alongside annuals such as Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ and Alyssum ‘Snow Crystals’. The planting combinations are endless and the best part is you can use Swiss Chard strictly as an ornamental and grow it to maturity, or you can harvest it young.
Harvesting your Swiss Chard can be done in a few ways: Harvest the outer leaves when they are large enough to eat. The young tender leaves are sweet and flavorful and are excellent in salads. When the leaves become larger, cut the mid-rib out before cooking. Chop the leaves and cook…they can be used in soup, pasta, stir-fry, and casseroles. They can also be used in Mediterranean cooking to create Sarmas (aka Dolmas)….think stuffed Grape leaves or stuffed Cabbage leaves….just substitute with Chard leaves.
The stalks of the Swiss Chard are also edible, they just need to be finely chopped and cooked a little longer than the leaves. Serve sautéed with the Chard leaves, Olive Oil, onion and garlic. Finally, Swiss Chard is not only beautiful and delicious, it is also really good for you! It is high in Vitamins A & C and rich in Potassium and Magnesium. We are currently growing Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Green’ & ’Prima Rossa’ in 6 pack flats. Check out our website www.clearwatercolor.com to see photos of these wonderful veggies.