Canadian Farmer Guy
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Direct Seed Swiss Chard?

Hello Gardeners

I'm hoping to grow some Swiss Chard this year. Specifically, Bright Lights and Lucullus.

A friend of mine buys Swiss Chard seedlings to plant in her vegetable garden.

I'm starting a number of plants in my basement this year, but I don't have enough room for the Swiss Chard

Would it be possible to direct-seed Swiss Chard my garden?

I'm in Southern Ontario, Zone 6 I believe. I'm using of 6 to 8 inch high raised beds.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

CFG

wordwiz
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Think about it! If seeds could not be directly sown, the only plants we would have these days are the ones that humans produced and had room in their house or shed to grow.

Will the germination rate be as good - unlikely, because one cannot control the moisture level, heat, light, etc., outside. But they will still sprout and grow.

Mike

gumbo2176
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That is the only way I start all of my fall leafy greens. Direct sow and thin when they get about 4 inches high. I do this with lettuces, kale, chard, spinach, arugula etc. You get way more seeds in one of those packets than you really can use in a normal home garden.

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jal_ut
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Yes, chard may be direct sown. I would plant it about a week before the average date of last frost. Plant it 3/4 inch deep. You can plant later than this too, but I would not plant earlier.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Dixana
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If you are in Canada about the highest zone you can be in is zone 4.
You can in fact direct seed swiss chard though, it only needs a soil temp of about 50 degrees to germinate.
Good luck with it!
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wisconsingal
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I agree with the above who say YES you can! I direct seeded Bright Lights here in Wisconsin last year and enjoyed great success.

Good luck and enjoy your swiss chard, it's one of my faves.
Angela

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As a second year gardener, nothing I grew was as easy as Swiss Chard. buying plants is just crazy to my mind. I haven't stopped growing Chard as here in Los Angeles we can grow it any month. When rained here my chard exploded! Also bright lights is a very pretty looking crop!

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I'll be redundant and say that Swiss chard is a very cold hardy crop. I direct sow it in April and I'm in zone 5...cooler than you are. You'll do just fine with your Swiss chard :wink:, it's just one of those crops that seems to usually take.
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rainbowgardener
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Canadian FG is talking about Canadian zone 6, which is different from the USDA zones we are used to talking about. They have their own zone system. On the USDA system CFG is probably in zone 3 or possibly 2.

" Today, the USDA map, which was last updated and released in 1990 (based on weather records from 1974-1986), is generally considered the standard measure of plant hardiness throughout much of the United States. Hence we have the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.

A similar map for Canada has been issued by the Canadian government's agriculture department." https://www.backyardgardener.com/zone/index.html#usda The article has links that show the US system and the Canadian one.

But yes, even in zone 2, I would think you could direct sow your chard. It is quick growing. The limiting factor for you growing annuals like chard is not how cold it gets in winter (which is what the zone system measures), but the length of your frost free season. It looks like your average last frost date in spring is around May 15 and the average first frost date in fall is around Sept 1. So anything that can't grow to maturity in that time needs a head start indoors. But swiss chard is really good for that climate. You can plant the seed outdoors, direct seeding, as soon as the ground can be worked, even though you will still have some freezes after that and it will survive the first few fall frosts.

What you would need to start indoors would be things like acorn squash, which have a pretty long growing season, can't be planted out until the soil is warmed up, which is later than the last frost date, and will die at the first touch of fall frost...

So anyway, like everyone has said, yes indeed, direct seed your chard outdoors. Incidentally, I grow the bright lights too and I love it! It is the most productive thing in my garden growing and growing all season long.
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lorax
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Southern Ontario is in USDA zone 4, RG. There is no possible way that it's USDA 2/3, because that's what's found in Alaska and the Northern Canadian provinces. I can tell you this, because I've lived in Canadian Zone 2, which is closer to USDA 0.

Canadian FG - you can absolutely grow Swiss Chard by direct sowing in Southern Ontario. My grandparents used to say it was the first crop into the ground, and the last crop out; they're from the Huntsville area, which is even a bit colder than where you are. They sowed Chard in April as soon as the first frost had left the ground, and it came out in October with the first snow.

Let me know how Lucullus does for you as well - your summers are very like mine down here in Ecuador. If it's a good crop, I'll trade you Ruby Red for it.

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gixxerific
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Yes they can and that is how they should be grown in opinion. They are very hardy.

As far as the cold hardiness I am still out on that but than again back in. :P I had some that grew to enormous size in my front flower garden last year. I got lazy among other reasons but didn't pull them till last week (early Jan) for composting. The leaves though wilted were as big as my chest and the main root were the size of a liter water bottle -+. So since the roots were so huge I took the leaves off to throw in the compost and the roots went to the side. As I was pulling off the leave the closer I got to the root I found new growth. :shock: It has been very cold here with ice and snow and all that. So they were still trying to grow. I say that is hardy, but the outer leaves were wilted.

Canadian Farmer Guy
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Thank you all for the help.
Sounds like direct-seeding will be no problem.

I will let you all know how the Lucullus does.

Thanks again.

CFG

csvd87
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Dixana wrote:If you are in Canada about the highest zone you can be in is zone 4.
You can in fact direct seed swiss chard though, it only needs a soil temp of about 50 degrees to germinate.
Good luck with it!
I'm in Canada and I am in zone 7a, or according to my west coast seeds map I am in zone 8a. But if you are talking about sunset zones, then yes zone 4 I am in. anyways, I will be trying Silverado and Flamingo Pink, direct seeding when appropriate

DoubleDogFarm
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Would it be possible to direct-seed Swiss Chard my garden
Yes, like many here have said, but I like a head start and I sell them at the farmers market.

Bright lights
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Farmers%20Market/DSC02129.jpg[/img]

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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csvd87 wrote:
Dixana wrote:If you are in Canada about the highest zone you can be in is zone 4.
You can in fact direct seed swiss chard though, it only needs a soil temp of about 50 degrees to germinate.
Good luck with it!
I'm in Canada and I am in zone 7a, or according to my west coast seeds map I am in zone 8a. But if you are talking about sunset zones, then yes zone 4 I am in. anyways, I will be trying Silverado and Flamingo Pink, direct seeding when appropriate
We are talking about USDA cold hardiness zones, which are different from the Sunset zones and different from the Canadian ones. And yes, if you check the map in the link I gave before, none of Canada is above USDA zone 4 and very little of it is even zone 4, mostly zone 3 and below.

It's why I am not a Canadian, even though I think in many ways you have a much more civil society than we do....
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Dixana
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Good grief that's confusing...
I didn't realize there were so many different zone maps.
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lorax
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You think that's confusing? Check out the Australian Heat zones, and the Andean Altitude zones. Also, the North American Heat zones!

According to various and assorted maps, I'm in:

USDA 13
USDA 14b
CanZone 10
Andean Altitude 1
SA Zone 3

garden5
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Some folks have even been able to have some of their Swiss Chard overwinter and come up again in the spring. However, since they are a biennial, they will probably bolt to seed the following summer.

I left all of mine in this winter so I'm going to see what comes about from it.
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wisconsingal
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garden5 wrote:Some folks have even been able to have some of their Swiss Chard overwinter and come up again in the spring. However, since they are a biennial, they will probably bolt to seed the following summer.

I left all of mine in this winter so I'm going to see what comes about from it.
I left a portion of mine in too, hoping for the best!
Angela

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applestar
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I'm thinking a hefty much would help get them through the winter. I like the idea of letting some grow 2nd year for seeds. 8).

I wonder how TALL they get when they bolt??? I have a radicchio that bolted and is still in the garden. It's tied to the top of the 6foot trellis and drooping over... :shock:

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Swiss Chart time to plant!

Time for my two cents! I have grown swiss chart for many years and I love it for beauty and a cooked veg.! Just to show how hardy this plant is I grew it in my solar greenhouse about 5 years ago and some of the bplants are still doing good even when the temp went down to 25 degrees! To stop them from going to seed I clipped them. I let some go to seed. I now plant the bright lights! To help the plant start throw the seed in a soil mix and put it in the house for 3 days then spread it in the row and it will come up two weeks earlier and the cold weather will not hurt it unless it gets down to below 20! Even throw some plastic over a raised bed and it will be ready to eat by june. Never pull the plant just clip a leaf or two. My rabbits like it also! You can eat it in a salad or cook it like spinich! Throw a l;ittle blood meal in the row below the seeds and the heat from the blood meal or manure will make it come up fast! Mix it all through your garden since it does well with almost everything and the bright lights are real delights! I think its time for me to write a garden poem! keep a eye open!
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Bobberman
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Re: Direct Seed Swiss Chard?

Canadian Farmer Guy wrote:Hello Gardeners

I'm hoping to grow some Swiss Chard this year. Specifically, Bright Lights and Lucullus.

A friend of mine buys Swiss Chard seedlings to plant in her vegetable garden.

I'm starting a number of plants in my basement this year, but I don't have enough room for the Swiss Chard

Would it be possible to direct-seed Swiss Chard my garden?

I'm in Southern Ontario, Zone 6 I believe. I'm using of 6 to 8 inch high raised beds.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

CFG
I would make a cold frame and start the Swiss Chard 2 weeks earlier then trans plant some that you thin! I have done that every year and love the brigh lights!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

wordwiz
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I'm beginning to think Chard might outlast Keith Richards! I had a plant in a raised bed last year that didn't get harvested. I was over at the site a few weeks ago, after 12" of accumulated snow had mostly melted - that thing still had a green stem and some viable leaves.

Mike

Bobberman
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I planted some swill chard about 4 years ago on my green house floor is a few places I planted in the open areas. Even with the temp at 25 many days during the winter the chard is still producing. I clip the leaves often for the rabbits all winter. Some of the chard went to seed but if you clip it it stays forever! I even have some pasley that has been growing for 4 years! I put a 4 foot swimming pool on the floor and filled it with dirt and have herbs growing all year with only the solar stored heat from ther water storage!
Last edited by Bobberman on Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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GomoIsGardening
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My grandparents had a summer cottage in the Thousand Islands area and always grew Swiss Chard from direct seeding. I don't remember when they started it but I know the garden was started as soon as the snow melted and the soil was workable. We were right on the US border, Interstate 81, Wellsley Island, NY/Hill Island, Canada. I don't know if that location helps or not.
MaryAnn

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