Fordhook White Giant Swiss Chard ,VEGETABLE Seeds-Biannual !
After picking the leaves simply wash and add to salads or wash and then quickly heat in a pan using only the water that clings to the leaves after washing. This will avoid overcooked soggy leaves. Chard does not store well so should either be eaten within a few hours of picking or stored in the salad box of the fridge for a maximum of 3 days. This fast-growing market has become tremendously popular with both growers and chefs. For growers, Micro Greens have a low start-up cost for year-round production, are relatively easy to grow, and most can be harvested within 2-3 weeks. For chefs, they allow for interesting colors,flavors, and textures to be creatively combined to enhance any dish. Swiss chard is a green that many seasoned gardeners claim everyone must grow. A prolific grower with a long cropping season, it tolerates partial shade, poor soil and inattention. Chard is a cool weather vegetable and will withstand a mild frost. It also puts up with heat and with dry weather. It does well in containers and has a long harvest period, it will give tasty spinach type leaves for up to twelve months from a single sowing.
Chard is probably the most under appreciated of all vegetables, vitamin rich and nutritious. In recipes the leaves can be used in any dish that calls for spinach and the white stalks can be creamed like asparagus. Eat the young leaves in salads and save the larger leaves for steaming, stir-frying, or chopping and sautéing. Chard is one of the easiest of all vegetables to grow and is a good choice for the beginner or busy gardener.
Swiss Chard ‘Fordhook Giant’ may just well be the perfect vegetable. Introduced in 1934, this well known bolt resistant variety has been a market leader for years. A vigorous grower with a very long harvest period, the plants grow 50 to 60cm (22 to 27in) tall and handle both heat and light frost particularly well.
Fordhook Giant is a fine flavoured variety that produces thick, dark green, crisp, crumbled leaves with a broad white rib on juicy white stalks. This excellent variety continuously produces new leaves when harvested frequently.
Plant early and often, and enjoy fresh greens long after frost has killed the others. 25 days to maturity for baby and 50 days for bunching.
Chard Fordhook Giant has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant early and often. Sow under cover from February to March then direct sow from April to early September.
Sow in Spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow the seed thinly 5cm (2in) apart at a depth of 1cm (½in). If growing more than one row, space the rows about 38 to 45cm (15 to 18in) apart. The seedlings will appear in about 15 days and should be watered for the first month or so if conditions are dry.
The plants will need thinning to about 15 to 25cm (6 to 10in) between plants. If left until around 15cm in height before thinning then the thinned plants can be treated like an early harvest and the young leaves will be extremely tender and tasty.
Chard are hardy vegetables and will grow with little or no attention. Their main need is for weeding. This can be done by regular hoeing. An alternative is lay black plastic and let the plants grow through this. Black plastic is particularly useful for Swiss Chard because they stay in the ground for so long. To minimise the bitter mid-summer taste, make sure the plants get plenty of water.
Chard is sturdier than spinach and can cope better with water shortages, however you should still water regularly to ensure optimum growth and prevent bolting. Bolting leads to premature flower and seed production and will divert the plants energies away from leaf growth. If a flower stalk develops then clip it off to extend the harvest.
To extend harvesting past the first hard frost you can put the plants under a cloche or polytunnel to extend the growing season.
Harvesting: 25 days for baby leaf and 50 days to maturity for bunching.
Chard can be picked as soon as the leaves are large enough to harvest, usually in four to six weeks. The best leaves for salads are the younger leaves, about 8cm /3in long. Chard is a pick and come again crop use a knife rather than pulling off the leaves. For multiple harvests from the same plant simply pick the outer leaves and leave the inner younger leaves. Be sure not to damage the central terminal bud at the centre of the young growth. You can also if you wish harvest the whole plant.
Let the outer leaves grow as big as you want. If you can't eat it as fast as it is producing, cut and discard leaves as they begin to wilt. If the patch gets out of hand, do major surgery on the leaves. The inner leaves will take their place quickly.
As the weather cools, the leaves are their tastiest, if they turn a little too bitter in mid-summer, make sure to come back to them later. Harvests until the first hard frost, many gardeners pick Chard as late as Christmas.