Grow Guide Conditions:
Chard can be grown from early spring through fall, and year-round in mild climates. It is tolerant of a broad range of growing conditions and soil types, but grows best on silt-loam or sandy-loam soils with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Maintain uniform soil moisture for the most tender leaves, but avoid waterlogging. Chard grows best during the 60-70°F days and cool nights of spring and fall. While heat tolerant, it should be grown in partial shade in hot climates.
Grow Guide Seed:
Chard is most commonly direct seeded, but may be transplanted. Direct seed beginning on the last spring frost date. Plant seeds ½ to ¾ inch deep, 2-3 inches apart, allowing 12-18 inches between rows. Seeds germinate in 7-12 days. Thin to 8-12 inches apart as the plants get larger (you can eat the thinnings). To start seedlings indoors, fill starter trays with a sterile seed starting mix. Plant 2 seeds per cell, 1/2 inch deep. Ideal soil temperature for germination is 65-75°F. Thin to 1 plant per cell. Harden-off seedlings for 5–7 days prior to transplanting. After the last frost, transplant 3-4 week old seedlings outside in a fertile garden bed 8-12 inches apart, allowing 12-18 inches between rows. Be careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting.
Grow Guide Pests:
Chard is a relatively pest and disease-free crop. Practice crop rotations to prevent Cercospora Leaf Spot and other soil borne diseases. Use row covers to exclude leaf-miners, or crush them in the leaf. Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails.
Grow Guide Harvest:
Harvest chard continuously a few leaves at a time starting at the bottom of the plant while the leaves are tender. Leave the newly forming leaves at the top to keep growing. Delicate chard leaves are best used right away, but will keep a few days in the refrigerator.