How to Grow Seakale Beet/Swiss Chard

This is a dual-purpose vegetable. It produces thick, ivory-white stems, often 8 in. long, with large dark green leaves above. The white part, or midrib, is served as seakale and the dark green foliage as spinach. It is also known as silver beet and as Swiss chard.

SOIL PREPARATION

Seakale beet grows well on almost any soil, but gives the longest stems and largest leaves on land that has been manured with well-rotted compost and old dung at the rate of a bucketful to the square yd. When the tilth is being prepared rake in fish manure with a 6 per cent potash content, or a complete fertilizer, at the rate of 4 ounces to the square yd. When the plants are in full growth, water every ten days with diluted Bio Humus, or some other liquid fertilizer.

SOWING

Make two sowings, the first one early in May and the second about the third week in June. Sow the seed in rows 15 in. apart, and as soon as the plants are large enough to handle thin them out to 4 in. apart. Thin out again about two weeks later to 8 in. apart.

English: Bright Lights Swiss Chard with red an...

Image via Wikipedia

Alternatively, take out drills 1 in. deep and 15 in. apart. Sow three seeds at stations 9 in. apart along the drills. If the three seeds germinate, thin the seedlings to one per station.

GENERAL CARE

Hoe the rows to keep down the weeds and, if the weather is dry, water the rows regularly, since seakale grows rapidly in warm weather.

HARVESTING

Do not cut off the dark green leaves leaving the white stems on the plants or the stems will rot back and cause trouble. Pull off the stem and leaves in one piece. Keep pulling regularly as the leaves become ready, throughout the summer and well into the early winter. Some plants live through the winter and may be pulled again in the spring.

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES

New Giant Seakale, produces very large leaves with ivory-white prominent ribs.

Silver Kale, has large dark green leaves. Plants are bushy, and the white stems are shorter than New Giant Seakale.

14. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Brassicas, Kitchen Garden | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on How to Grow Seakale Beet/Swiss Chard

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