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‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard
‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard

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Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
Full Sun
Regular Water

Swiss chard

Annuals, Vegetables

Swiss chard, a form of beet grown for its leaves and stalks instead of roots, probably originated in the Mediterranean. It is one of the easiest-to-grow vegetables for home gardens.

‘Bright Lights’ is especially decorative; it has leaves ranging from green to burgundy, stalks in shades of yellow, orange, pink, purple, red, and green (and in white). Red stems and red-veined green leaves of ‘Rhubarb’ are very decorative. Cook leaves and leafstalks separately, since stalks take longer.

Sow big, crinkly, tan seeds in spaded soil, anytime from spring to early summer. Thin seedlings to 1 ft. apart. About 2 months after sowing (plants will generally have reached 1–1 1/2 ft. tall), you can begin to cut outer leaves as needed for the table. New leaves grow up in the center of the plants. Plants yield all summer and seldom bolt to seed (if one does, pull it up and throw it away or add it to the compost pile). Where winters are mild, can be grown as fall-into-spring crop. Such plantings will often bolt as the weather warms in spring, but you can often replant and extend the harvest. 

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