Swiss Chard - Key Growing Information

A row of our signature Swiss chard variety, 'Bright Lights,' growing in the field.


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Beta vulgaris
CULTURE: Soil pH should be over 6.0. Cool and mild weather is preferred, though chard has some heat tolerance. Seeds germinate in soil temperatures from 40–100°F (5–38°C) with an optimum of 86°F (30°C). Seedlings will tolerate light frosts, and mature plants are hardy to moderate frosts. It may overwinter in mild areas.
PELLETED SEED: If using pelleted seed, we recommend consistent soil moisture during the germination period. Pelleted seed must be kept cool and dry prior to planting, and should be used wthin one year of purchase. Pellets are made of inert NOP-compliant materials, and are size 18.0 — suitable for use with Stanhay seeders (belt size 18.0) or many of the precision seeders offered by Johnny's.
TRANSPLANTING: Sow seed in a cold frame or indoors in early spring, about 5–6 weeks before transplanting out after heavy frosts become infrequent. Sow seeds ½" deep, 2 seeds every 2", thin to 4" apart. Transplant out 4" apart in rows 12–18" apart.
DIRECT SEEDING: Sow beginning midspring and on into midsummer (fall where winter is mild).
BUNCHING: Sow about 6 seeds/ft., ½" deep, rows 18–24" apart. Thin to 4–6" apart for larger leaves. Cut for bunching at any stage; new leaves will grow.
SALAD MIX: Sow in a 2–4" wide band, 1" apart, 40 seeds/ft. Clip in about 5 weeks.
HARVEST: Clip mature leaves individually for home garden or for bunching for market. New leaves will grow multiple harvests. For baby leaf, clip young plants just above the soil. Multiple harvests are possible because the plants will grow new stems and leaves. Commercial growers may want to limit to one harvest to avoid half leaves.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From direct seeding.
AVG. DIRECT SEEDING RATE: BUNCHING: For bunching: 1 oz./300', 3¼ oz./1,000', 4½ lb./acre at 6 seeds/ft. in rows 24" apart. For baby leaf: 1 oz/45', 1⅓ lb./1,000', 39 lb./acre at 40 seeds/ft. in rows 18" apart.
DECORTICATED SEED: Decorticated seed has been processed by rubbing to remove angular, corky edges that prevent the seed from flowing evenly through mechanical seeders.
SIZED SEEDS: Standard except where noted.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: 23,700–48,500 (avg. 30,900).
PACKET: 200 seeds, sows 33–34'.