Planting the Seed: How to Grow Swiss Chard

Planting the Seed: How to Grow Swiss Chard

April 11, 2013 |  by | Follow her on Twitter here | 

This week, I planted my first seeds of the season and Rainbow Swiss Chard was in the mix!

Aside from having beautiful vibrant colored stems, Swiss Chard is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium; antioxidant vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E; heart-healthy potassium; and energy-producing iron.

It is a very good source of bone-healthy copper and calcium; energy-producing vitamin B2 and vitamin B6; and muscle-building protein, and heart-healthy dietary fiber.

In addition, Swiss chard also provides energy-producing phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, biotin, and niacin; immune supportive zinc; and heart-healthy folate.

As you can see, Swiss Chard is a nutritional powerhouse!


  • Tolerates partial shade and a range of soils
  • Grows well in containers
  • Direct sow or transplant seedlings in spring and again in late summer for a fall crop
  • Related to beets, so it’s easy to mix up the seeds!
  • Thin seedlings for use in salads
  • Keep soil consistently moist
  • With minimal care, a few Swiss chard plants can keep you supplied into the winter
  • “Bright Lights” rainbow variety is beautiful!

Ease of Growth: • • • • •


  • Leaves AND stems are edible (but the greens are where you’ll find the nutrition)
  • Mild when cooked, a tad bitter when raw due to oxalic acid content
  • Toss penne pasta with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cooked Swiss chard
  • Add zest to omelets and frittatas by adding some boiled Swiss chard
  • Use chard in place of or in addition to spinach when preparing vegetarian lasagna
  • Here are 20 recipes for how to turn Swiss chard into a delicious dish!

Ease of Preparation: • • • • •

NOTE: If you have problems with your kidney or gallbladder, Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalates, which can interfere with calcium absorption. Cook with something rich like tofu, seeds, nuts, beans, butter, animal products, or oil to help balance the effect of the oxalic acid.


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  1. This is timely for me since I have some in my fridge! No shortage of ideas here! Don’t you just love those colorful stems?


    • Although I know the greens are the part that’s “good” for me, I think I grow Swiss chard expressly because the stems are so poppy and bright! Let us know if you try any of those NY Times recipes, Eithne – it would be nice to have a “real-person” review.

  2. Perfect timing Wendy! I just bought organic swiss chard seeds yesterday. Now I have everything I need to grow them and enjoy them! Thanks!

  3. I really need to expand my intake of greens from spinach and kale! I have used chard before but somehow it’s never in the forefront of my mind. It doesn’t help that my Stop n Shop is pretty lame in the greens department. Looking forward to being able to hit up some farmer’s markets and maybe get a CSA rotation for the summer. Of course I could always head up to MA and visit you! But thanks for the inspiration and information, I am definitely going to make it a point to get Swiss Chard into the mix.

  4. I’m so excited to learn that it’s easy to grow! Maybe I will add swiss chard to my garden this year. Have you ever juiced it? The rainbow chard makes a gorgeous juice – & tastes yummy too.

  5. Rainbow chard is one of my absolute favorites! I love the vibrant colors and the taste. I had a client who gets kidney stones and she would always text me to remind her which greens she could and couldn’t eat…I felt so bad she was missing out on this stuff. I have some little sprouts in my window right now and I’m smiling at them while I type my comments here! :-)

  6. I know not to grow so much this year but am excited to plant three plants. I was overwhelmed years ago with TOO MUCH CHARD, so this year I am going to be frugal. Glad to have it back in my repertoire.

  7. I’ve been looking for another edible to put in a large pot, that is colorful and bushy. this is just perfect. We have been planning to create a built up garden yard, but it takes a lot of good soil. Right now, we are putting the cash into a building projuect, so I have kept my gardening small. I am putting the edibles in pots that I can keep watered with my rain barrels. This is just the ticket, as lettuce tends to get weak in the hot Florida sun. Thank you for a great and healthy idea! Sheri

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