Healthy Swiss Chard is a very nutritious, but perhaps forgotten, vegetable which oftentimes will grow year round in our climate area. It is a member of the spinach family and, it really is a very easy to grow green vegetable. This year I have planted an old favourite called Fordhook Giant which is an heirloom seed and almost perfect to grow. Read on for many reasons and benefits of why you should grow this veggie in your home garden.
"As food, and everything else, is becoming more expensive,
there is coming about a great renaissance
of gardening for self-sufficiency.
"The Self-Sufficient Gardener" by John Seymour (Pg 6)
"Swiss Chard will grow in most climates except the very hottest
and any soil which is not waterlogged"
"The Self-Sufficient Gardener" by John Seymour (Pg 153)
How to Grow Healthy Swiss Chard
- Sowing : Plant seeds about half an inch deep in rich organic soil. I like to seed in several short rows of 4 or 5 plants about 10" apart. Rows should be about 18" apart. Chard can grow rather large if not harvested frequently
- The seeds germinate quickly in 7 to 10 days and are ready to harvest in 50 to 60 days.
- You can begin to harvest the stalks when they are about 8 inches tall. For continuing harvest simply cut a few outside stalks near the ground, from several plants and the plant continues to grow. Amazing.
- Follow directions on seed package for planting the variety you are growing
Note: In the original Caramel and Parsley article
"Two Vegetables and One Fruit..."
(published in 2011) Swiss Chard was one of three vegetables described as
"three musts for your garden this year". ~ Liz
Swiss Chard Nutrition
USDA Nutrition Data: (2018)
Swiss Chard contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A, C, D, E and K plus much more ... Check it out.
More on Nutrition :
Swiss chard is similar to other leafy greens in that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to a balanced diet. It contains vitamins A, C, and K in addition to minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Phytonutrients have been known to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, vitamin A helps to maintain healthy skin, vitamin C helps to boost the immune system, and calcium improves bone health. Although chard has a higher sodium content than other vegetables of its kind, it also has high levels of the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium"
Food Source Information
Health Benefits Swiss Chard
One of the health benefits of eating "greens" including Swiss Chard are its possible anti-cancer properties as it pertains to Lung and Breast cancers and others:
- Protect cells from DNA damage.
- Help inactivate carcinogens.
- Have antiviral and antibacterial effects.
- They have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Induce cell death (apoptosis).
- They inhibit tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis).
- Information from National Cancer Institute:
Other Swiss Chard Health Links :
- Eating for Your Eye Health, North Dakota State University (2019)
- How Adding Leafy Greens to Your Diet Could Help Your Brain (2018)
- Eating healthy "Vegetables and Fruit", Heart & Stroke
- Calcium and Strong Bones, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
"Yes, you can freeze Swiss Chard. Cut off stems, rinse, blanch them, cool in water bath, and then store in freezer Ziploc bag. (To blanch, bring pot of water to boil and submerge greens for 2-3 minutes.) Freezing does not cause a loss of nutrients and in fact is a great way to preserve their nutrition."
Swiss Chard Nutrition
"Swiss Chard needs little attention, though mulching is worthwhile ...
it is hardy and resistant to pests and diseases."
"The Self-Sufficient Gardener" by John Seymour (Pg 153 )
Swiss Chard Super Simple Recipe Ideas
- As both stalks and leaves are edible there are lots of uses starting with simply steamed with butter
- The leaves can be chopped and used in a Quiche or Frittata
- Used as a vegetable in a quick, nutritious Stirfry
- Super easy way to prepare is fry up onions & mushrooms, add sliced Swiss Chard and then add eggs for a Farmers style scrambled eggs (or an omelette) served with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese
- Swiss Chard can be substituted in most recipes which include spinach or kale, such as a salad
- Many years ago I recall one of my mother's favourite vegetable dishes was to cook Swiss Chard stalks and serve in a white sauce
- Oven bake ~ that is something I have not tried yet!
This short article has hopefully inspired you to try growing Swiss Chard in your home garden this year. It has wintered over in the outside garden, in a cold frame and in the greenhouse. Nothing like fresh greens with dinner in the middle of a snow storm. Plant chard in early spring and the Fall for year round supply of greens.
Enjoy and Happy Gardening ~ Liz
Links & References :
- The Healthy Benefits of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (including Swiss Chard) from University of Kentucky
- More information from the US National Library of Medicine "Bioactive compounds and nutritional composition of Swiss chard"
- Quotes used are mostly from "The Self Sufficient Gardener" John Seymour, A Doubleday Dolphin publication (1978)
- Kale - another Healthy Green to Grow in Your Home Garden
- "Eat Real Food" from Dr Robert Lustig, Endocrinologist
Swiss Chard Cocktail
- ... or Swiss Chard Tea. Its a great "pick me up" for other plants that are "lagging a bit"
- To brew: place 2 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves in a blender. Add hot water and blend thoroughly and then strain
- When cool use this "tea" on plants of your choice
- Also lay cooked leaves around the base of plants as a "soil-enriching, weed-suppressing mulch"
Quote from "1001 Best Gardening Tips", Rodale Inc, 2002 (Page 71)
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