Kitchen Garden Guides

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chard, for free. Forever.

While everyone else is talking about how tall their tomato plants are, I am more excited about the height of the ruby chard, which has run to seed and will provide me with thousands of seeds for sowing later.

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful and creative are the different stages of plant growth. From a tiny, knobbly, chard seed sprouts a vivid red stem and lime green first leaves. Next come oval shaped, darker green leaves which are still without their final display of texture and a brilliant red main vein.


The whole plant then shoots skyward. The red stem becomes a solid trunk, the leaves shrink and give their energy to insignificant flowers. Before you know it, there are thousands of green seed heads becoming heavy as they mature, causing the plant to topple. I tie one or 2 to a stake and remove the rest….. but it breaks my heart to pull them out before the end of their life as they have given so much.

This is the job I did yesterday, finding that, once staked, they reached far above my head. I stood and looked at them. Awesome. As I lifted them to the stake I saw new life emerging below. Seeds from last season’s chard is germinating everywhere. Seeing new life made me feel ok about pulling out the old life (or cutting them off at ground level so as not to disturb the babies).


Once you have your favourite chard growing, you never have to buy or sow the seeds again. Food, for free, forever, with no work….. that’s my kind of food and my kind of garden.


Linda said...

Yep. Love it! We have free self-seeded beet root, leeks and potatoes every year.

WhatIfWeAllCared? said...

What is your weather like there? Wondering if I could get chard to self-seed here~ near Chicago?

Kate said...

Chard loves cold and is common in Europe. Goes to seed in spring/ summer heat. I would imagine it would grow in Chicago.

gumboot goddess said...

chard and kale, too :-)
happy gardening!

chaiselongue1 said...

Chard plants are quite expensive here, so we always feel very smug that ours seems to germinate all over the garden, especially in the autumn when it gets wetter and cooler. We just move them into rows and harvest through the winter!

O Frade said...

Personally, I prefer to grow the wild chard that is a native species here in Portugal. It tastes better than any bred variety, as far as I'm concerned, and it is quite easy to grow.