|AAS Winner. Bright Lights Mix contains some of the most intense colors of chard that we have ever seen. The 21-26 in. plants produce eye-appealing stalk colors of deep gold, snow white, deep red and magenta, all with shiny, medium-green colored leaves. The leaf textures range from smooth to lightly crumpled at the young stage, to lightly crumpled to crumpled at the mature stage. The stalks are broad, very tender and fleshy, even at full maturity. A great item for adding color to salad mixes or to harvest young and sell as baby chard. 60 Days. A close relative of the beet family, chard is another nutritious "green" vegetable. It is valued for the green leaves and stalks it produces, and does not produce a root as beets do. It was first cultivated in the Mediterranean Region, and remains very popular there. 100 seeds per pkg.|
Vegetable Garden - -Tips on Growing Swiss Chard From Seeds
Days to Maturity: 50-60
Swiss Chard Bright Lights was an All America Selections winner in 1998.
When to plant outside: RECOMMENDED.
USDA Hardiness Zone -First Frost Date- Last Frost Date
When to start inside: Not recommended.
Special Sowing & Germination Instructions:
Colorful stems and bright green leaves make Swiss chard the single most glamorous garden green as well as a nutritious vegetable. Because it does not ship well, you are not likely to find it at the grocery store. The only way to have beautiful leaves like these is to grow your own. Fortunately, it is easy to grow in the ground or in containers and is one of the few greens that tolerates both cool weather and heat. It will linger in the spring garden much longer than mustard, turnips, arugula, or other greens that bolt in spring. In the fall, it grows well until killed by a hard freeze.
To be sure about pH, test the soil with a pH meter. Apply fertilizer and lime using the results of the soil test as a guide.
To Measure Soil pH
It is recommended that you use a relatively inexpensive, and follow the manufacturers instructions when testing the pH Level of your Gardens soil. To raise or lower the pH level in the soil either Limestone or Sulfur is utilized. Other materials will accomplish the same results; however the two that are listed are the most commonly used.
Limestone is added to the soil to raise the pH level because limestone is essentially calcium and calcium reacts with water in the soil to yield hydroxyl ions .. a process known as, hydrolysis = thus the pH level in the soil is raised.
Sulfur reacts with bacteria in the soil and produces sulfuric acid, which releases hydrogen ions thus causing the soil to become more acidic =the pH level is lowered.
Application Of Lime (To Raise Soil pH)
To increase your pH by 1.0 point and make your soil more alkaline.
Application of Sulfur (To Lower Soil pH)
If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur will lower the pH if it is available.
To reduce the soil pH by 1.0 point
Like all vegetables, Swiss chard does best with a nice, even supply of water. Water regularly, applying 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week if it does not rain. You can measure the amount of water with a rain gauge in the garden. Mulch with compost, finely ground leaves, wheat straw, or finely ground bark to keep the soil cool and moist and to keep down weeds. Mulching will also help keep the leaves clean.
Do water regularly, especially in summer, as drought-stressed plants may bolt, or flower. Leaves are the sweetest and most tender in the cool of early spring and fall. You can begin harvesting outer leaves anytime that they are large enough to eat; young tender leaves are the most flavorful and make a colorful addition to salads. If picked 1 or 2 leaves at a time, a spring planting of 6 to 12 plants will yield plenty of leaves into winter. Cut out the midrib of larger leaves before cooking or chopping into salads. Chop large leaves to cook down like spinach or in casseroles, soups, and pasta.
In areas that never experience a hard freeze, Swiss chard sometimes behaves like a perennial, living for several years. When it blooms, you can cut off the bloom stalk and it will produce more leaves. Whole harvested leaves will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks in a loose plastic bag or sealed container. Plants are generally problem free but may be attacked by aphids, mites, and caterpillars that chew holes in the leaves. Swiss chard is also subject to cercospora leaf spot, a disease that disfigures the leaves with ash-gray spots that have purple edges; or leaves may get downy mildew, which causes a mildew-like growth on the foliage.