Growing and caring for chard in country beds
Chard or leaf beet is a close relative of sugar beet, fodder beet and regular salad beet. Growing and caring for chard is not difficult. Although this plant is two years old and belongs to the amaranth family, it is still grown as an annual. If you take good care of the wintering of such beets, they will be able to winter in a greenhouse or in a garden without any problems. And starting from April it will delight you with fresh herbs. The greens of the plant are not only pleasant to the taste, but also rich in protein compounds, vitamins, sugar, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
The French often use Swiss chard as a substitute for spinach and asparagus because of their taste and healthiness..
Chard varieties can be distinguished by the color of the stem and the type of leaves, which are of great nutritional value. Some decorative varieties of deciduous beets are planted in flower beds due to the combination of rich colors..
The most common varieties:
- Stem or veined chard, in other words, herbal stalk. Widespread in Switzerland. It is easy to distinguish from other varieties due to noticeable streaks of white and red color. Red-veined deciduous beets have a more pronounced odor. In spring, chard sprouts emerge earlier than all other early plants..
- The second, no less well-known variety of deciduous beets is chives-chard, also known as roman cabbage. After cutting off the leaves, the plant almost instantly starts up new ones that can be used for food purposes. This plant variety is more cold tolerant than herbal stem.
Where and when to plant
The plant prefers fertile land rich in N and K elements. Otherwise, the plant becomes tough and unsuitable for human consumption. Mangold loves light, but it also takes root well in light partial shade. When chard is grown in the shade, its leaves become especially tender and juicy, but all this to the detriment of the severity of the variegated color.
It is not recommended to plant Swiss chard to compact tomatoes in a greenhouse. This is due to different watering requirements. Tomatoes require occasional, abundant watering, while chard needs constant moisture. Cucumbers are ideal neighbors for leaf beets. It is advisable to grow chard outdoors.
Chard is a cold-resistant plant. Seedlings will grow without problems at a temperature of 4 ° C, and the seedlings are able to survive frosts down to -6 ° C. However, it is not recommended to plant the plant in very early spring due to its rapid maturation with slow development of leaves..
It is advisable to plant chard outdoors in mid to late April. If planted in late spring or summer, the yield will be much less.
The process of growing and caring for chard does not require much effort. However, in order to achieve the suggested size of the leaves and their juiciness, you need to take time to care for the plant..
After one and a half to two weeks, the first shoots appear. After 5 ripe leaves appear on the plant, it is necessary to start thinning. Only one plant, the healthiest one, should be left in each bed. Removed plants can be planted elsewhere and the soil around them can be compacted..
Caring for deciduous beetroot includes:
- Regular soil moistening with water.
- Providing soil access to air by loosening the space between the rows.
- Fertilizing plants from time to time.
It is better to water the beds and fertilize them at the same time by mixing water with special feeding.
When growing and caring for chard, nitrogen-containing fertilizing can be used only in the early stages of plant life. The outer leaves must be cut off a little at regular intervals, this contributes to an even greater overgrowth of chard. The maximum cutting at one time is a quarter of the leaves. The plucked leaves must be wrapped in plastic and put in the refrigerator, as they quickly die.
When cutting leaves, the growing point must never be touched..
Healthy plants are able to overwinter in the garden bed. But for this you need to cover them with earth, cover them with compost and foliage before freezing. If the winter was without severe frosts, then most likely the plant will begin to grow in early spring..
You can start harvesting within one and a half to two weeks after sowing. Throughout the entire time, it is necessary to cut off large and extreme leaves, regardless of whether they are needed at the moment or not. Otherwise, the leaves will lose their delicate taste and juiciness..
The plant grows until late autumn. In petiolate chard, the leaves can be pinched only after they are fully ripe. The remaining crop can be frozen by first pouring boiling water over it..
Pests and diseases
Chard is quite resistant to all kinds of insects and diseases. However, sometimes viral diseases can kill the plant. The most dangerous pests for leaf beets are slugs. There is also a risk of fungal diseases in the absence of timely thinning of seedlings.
Prevention is important in this matter. In order to avoid various diseases and pests, you need to properly care for the plant..
Growing and caring for chard on a windowsill
To grow chard on a windowsill or balcony, you must first prepare the roots from the autumn garden. Specimens with thick absorbent roots are best suited for growing at home..
When growing chard with seedlings, the roots are planted at a distance of 1-2 cm from each other and then lightly covered with a mixture of humus, sand and turf. All components are mixed in equal proportions. When falling asleep, leave a small hole for growth.
The seedlings should stand for one to two weeks at a temperature of 7 to 10 ° C. After a week of germination of chard at a temperature of 7-10 ° C, it should be placed in a warmer place, and it will begin to grow many times faster. The most suitable temperature is 18-21 ° C. It is desirable to place the plant in a place with enough sun and no drafts.
Watering home chard is necessary as the soil dries up with water at room temperature. It is also advisable to feed the plant with organo-mineral dressings at a frequency of 2 times a month..
Where is used
Chard is rich in vitamins and tastes pretty good. In addition, deciduous beets sprout quickly, thrive and yield a lot. But where to use it?
Beetroot is widely used in various dishes in many countries. Only young leaves will do. With proper care, they will have tenderness and juiciness..
Deciduous beets are actively used in the preparation of balanced meals on dietary meals, in the preparation of vinaigrette, cabbage rolls, soups and borscht. Stewed deciduous beets are used as an appetizer for vermicelli and as a side dish for meat. Chard is often stewed in butter and lard, like spinach. Casting chard can be fermented with or separately from cabbage. Petioles can be closed for the winter like cucumbers. The plant is also used as a decoration for dishes. Deciduous beets can easily replace lettuce leaves without sacrificing taste..
Deciduous beets have some medicinal properties. For example, doctors often advise using it for diabetes, anemia, kidney stones, high blood pressure. Also, Swiss chard is able to support the immune system. Grated Swiss chard root is an effective way to combat hair loss.
What is Swiss chard – video