All About Growing Swiss Chard

Productive, prolific, and tolerant of a fairly wide range of temperatures, you almost can’t go wrong growing Swiss chard.

| April/May 2009

growing swiss chard

You can substitute cooked chard greens for spinach in any recipe, and steam or grill the crisp ribs of the plant just as you would asparagus.


(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Gardeners have been growing Swiss chard since the time of Aristotle, a testament to its enduring appeal; food plants have a way of making friends when they’re colorful, nutritious, delicious, and hardy. Chard is sort of a forerunner to beets and a close cousin to spinach, close enough that in many instances it can be substituted for the latter. We’ve compiled a few suggestions here for its cultivation and storage.

Types to Try

White-stemmed varieties consistently outperform their more colorful counterparts in terms of productivity and bolt resistance.

Brightly colored varieties are the queens of edible ornamentals. Varieties bearing red, pink, yellow, or orange ribs are available individually or in pre-packaged mixtures.

Perpetual varieties, which are often called perpetual spinach, have thinner stems and smaller, smoother leaves than larger varieties, and they taste more like spinach. The short, stocky plants work well in small gardens and containers.

Check out our chart for growing swiss chard varieties.

6/20/2016 12:02:40 PM

Swiss chard is one tough plant. I live in west Texas, which has a hot, dry climate. I grow Fordhook Giant. In summer, it handles full sunshine and 100°+ heat. In winter, it survives cold weather down to 15° or 20° and keeps growing. Around May 1, some of the plants planted March the year before bolted and others didn't, so I chopped down the ones that did, and am still eating leaves from the ones that didn't (end of June). I don't know how long they will last.

dairy goat


Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.