Perennial chard update

Last summer, I sowed Swiss chard (Bright Lights Rainbow Chard) and kept it overwinter. It lasted fine but began to bolt in the late spring.

However, I read somewhere that chard could be perennial, so rather than rip it out, I decided to keep it and see what happened.

The long and short of the situation is that there were no spectacular leaves over the summer. On the other hand, it does now seem to be producing something, though the plant looks nothing like the one you’d normally expect after sowing.

I haven’t tried any of the leaves yet but I’ll get round to that soon. And as it has survived one winter, I’ll keep it going to see what happens in 2016.


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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15 Responses to Perennial chard update

  1. My Dad’s girlfriend said hers comes back every year. She never has to plant more.

    • Helen says:

      That’s good to know. Do you know if the plant changes like mine seems to have done?

      • drofmit4108 says:

        The spikes it is throwing out are flowering ones….
        Harvest the lot… including the flowerheads…. cook everything up….
        and freeze any excess.
        You can cook the spike if a knife slides through easily…
        once you feel resistance, chuck the rest with the compostables.

        We tend to cook the spike stalk alone as it needs longer.
        Then we let it cool off, drain it and dress it with sesame oil and rich soy sauce….
        [got that from a Buddhist recipe book!]
        You can do that with the leaf stalks, too…
        but use light soy for the dressing if you are using Rainbow chard…
        that way it doesn’t detract from the colours.

        Cover the plant that is left with a heavy mulch… ie: bury it.
        As it has reached the flowering stage, you may not get any of the huge leaves ever again… but you will get a crop each year… often two….
        but it must be allowed to feed up over winter…. and if you can, during the summer.
        Remember, Perpetual Spinach is in fact a dark green chard plant…
        which is why many are disappointed when it doesn’t taste like real Spinach…
        it isn’t… it is a chard!! But that needs feeding the same way.
        We had a white stalked chard plant at Burley Model….
        that ended up at 3″ across at the root…
        and had “tree rings” when we cut it up to compost….
        I used a pruning saw!

      • I will ask my dad the next time I talk to him and let you know.

  2. The garden is always serving up something interesting, isn’t it, Helen?

  3. Awesome update Helen thank you for sharing have a blessed day I have sown some with my spinch must harvest some for a smoothie

  4. gaiainaction says:

    Really interesting Helen, maybe your chards are a two year plants, it seems to be the way I am finding it here with some vegetables, the chard that I planted out early September has only grown about 4 cm, but the kale I planted is doing great πŸ™‚

    • Helen says:

      I have found the same with chard. I think you will find yours grows on well in the spring but then it may bolt. The kale will continue to grow throughout the winter I think πŸ™‚

      • gaiainaction says:

        I’m going to keep my eye on it, still think it is a worthwhile vegetable even if it might only be ready in spring or so πŸ™‚

        • Helen says:

          This year I planted my chard earlier (maybe in June) and in a shady spot (front garden). It seems to have done much better, so I know not to put it in the hottest, sunniest part of the back garden in future πŸ™‚

          It’s definitely a worthwhile vegetable to grow, anyway!

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