Growing Swiss Chard & Kale from Seed to Harvest Posted on 29 Aug 09:41 , 1 comment
I'm updating our "greens" growing tutorials to include a bit more info. I've written quite a few articles about food prices and growing your own food.
First, I wrote Food Prices are on the Rise , then I wrote In Times of Uncertainty, Grow & Save and a follow-up Food Prices Continue to Rise. These articles explain why it is so important to start growing your own food. Even if it's just a salad garden, there is something for everyone. So let's get started on started on growing Swiss Chard & Kale
Tip: Soak seeds overnight in water before planting to ensure strong germination.
Plant seeds 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep and 3-6 inches apart. Set out seedlings 8-12 inches apart. Indoors or out, thin newly germinated seedlings with cuticle scissors instead of pulling them out. Chard seed capsules often contain two or more seeds. If more than one germinates snip off all but the strongest sprout at the soil line. Gradually thin direct-sown seedlings to 8-12 inches apart.
Harvest individual leaves from the outer area but be sure to leave the crown intact.
Frequent picking helps to stimulate the production of new leaves. Rinse leaves with cool water immediately, shake off the excess moisture, and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Swiss Chard is not only heat tolerant, depending on your area, it is also a cool weather crop. I have had several varieties withstand several days of frost and survive. So far, Lacinato Kale is the most heat tolerant variety we carry
Chickens love their kale!
Companion Plants for Swiss Chard & Kale
Chards: Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.
Kale: beets, celery, cucumbers, dill, garlic, hyssop, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onions, potatoes, rosemary, sage, spinach, swiss chard
TIPS for growing GREENS
-Make sure soil remains moist but is well drained.
-Once established, Swiss Chard can continue to produce for over 6 months and even a year!
-Swiss Chard will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.
-Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots:
Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Most greens prefer soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Alfalfa Meal or Alfalfa Meal Tea works well for Growing Greens.
If you have additional questions please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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