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Growing Swiss Chard & Kale from Seed to Harvest

Growing Swiss Chard & Kale from Seed to Harvest

Mary Smith |

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



Swiss Chard and 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 small 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


Both Swiss Chard and KALE grow very well together in small spaces


TIPS for growing GREENS

-Make sure soil remains moist but is well drained.

-Harvest the outer leaves continuously with both Kale & Swiss Chard.

-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 mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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1 comment

Chard is one of may favorite and faithful plantings each year. We started growing kale last summer and have had less success with it, but it does okay.

Michele Morin,

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