Harvesting swiss chard from your garden is very satisfying but it’s important to harvest it the right way so you can get the best yield.
In this article I’ll tell you when swiss chard leaves are ready to harvest, how to prolong the harvest time, and I’ll give you tips for storing and cooking swiss chard from your garden.
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It has large circular green leaves and the stalks can be white, yellow, pink or red and they’re also edible.
Swiss chard plants are fast growing and can reach 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm) tall.
When is swiss chard ready to harvest?
Swiss chard is usually ready to harvest about six weeks after planting the seeds.
At this stage the plants should be about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) tall and have at least 10 leaves.
Harvesting a few of the outer leaves at this stage ensures that the plant has a chance to produce more leaves for you to harvest later.
Don’t remove more than a third of the leaves at any one time.
If allowed to grow unchecked, swiss chard plants can double in size every 5 to 7 days so it’s a good idea to check the plants every couple of days.
How to harvest swiss chard
Swiss chard (silverbeet) plants can be harvested whole or by removing individual leaves.
The best time to harvest green leafy vegetables is early in the morning when the leaves are plump and sweet.
To harvest swiss chard as a whole, cut the plant off at its base with a sharp knife and discard any outer leaves that are yellowing or discolored.
To remove individual leaves from the silverbeet plant, pluck them off gently by hand or using a knife, just below where they meet the main stalk.
After you’ve picked the leaves, take them indoors as soon as possible to stop them wilting.
How can I prolong my swiss chard harvest?
The best way to ensure that you get fresh swiss chard leaves every day is to remove a few of the outer leaves each morning.
This will encourage the plant to continue producing new leaves throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to stagger your planting so that the plants are not all ready to harvest at the same time.
I like to plant a few seeds every week or two starting in spring to prolong the harvest time.
If you plant chard seeds in spring they’ll be ready to harvest in late spring or early summer.
You can also plant chard seeds in fall or winter in warm climates.
If your plants start to flower, cut the flower stalk off as soon as you can to stop the plants going to seed.
How to store swiss chard
Once harvested, swiss chard leaves will keep fresh stored in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
You can also freeze swiss chard by blanching and drying it and then placing it in freezer bags.
This way you can use swiss chard from your garden throughout the winter when other vegetables are scarce.
How to eat swiss chard
Young, tender swiss chard leaves can be finely chopped and eaten raw in salads, while the older leaves can be steamed, stir fried or added to omelettes, quiches, frittatas, pies and many other dishes.
The stems can be chopped and added to soups, stews, curries or stir fries.
The best way to cook fresh swiss chard leaves is to remove the ribs, blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes and then put them straight into iced water.
This prevents the leaves cooking any further and maintains the color and freshness.
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So there are my tips for harvesting swiss chard plants from your garden.
Swiss chard / silverbeet is an easy plant to grow that can provide you with a steady supply of nutritious green leaves.
Do you have any questions about picking swiss chard leaves? Let me know in the comments below.