Garden Lifestyle

‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard

I know, I know who hasn't grown 'Bright Lights' Swiss Chard, am I right?

'Bright Lights' Swiss chard is simple to grow and a show-stopper in the winter garden.   Photo by eflon under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

I know, I know who hasn’t grown ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard, am I right? I’m usually such an adventuress and can’t get enough of trying veggie varieties that I have yet to grow. But Bright Lights is such a vibrant and grand performer in the home garden! Right down to her show girl colors of red, orange, gold, pink, purple, yellow and cream – And all things in-between. I also consider it an ornamental, as this is one vegetable that glows in the winter garden.

‘Golden Sunrise’ is another eye-catcher with its gorgeous orange-gold veins. If you love sexy, bright red, ‘Charlotte’ may be the one to try. If you’ve never grown a winter garden, please try your hand at growing Swiss chard. It’s one of the easiest and most rewarding leafy greens.

Swiss chard or Silverbeet is (obviously) a cool-season vegetable that likes to be planted in full sun. Like most veggies, it’s happiest in well-drained soil and likes it fertile – so pile on the compost. I’ve hear that many gardeners will fertilize them a couple of times during the growing season, but I never seem to get around to that in my winter garden.

If I actually think about it this time around, I’ll just brew up some manure tea. If you don’t think you’ll even get around to picking up some manure to brew (and you don’t have access to rabbit manure) then just order yourself some moo poo tea bags. Pre-packaged tea bags make adding organic fertilizer just about as simple as it gets.

When the chard reaches about 1 – 1 1/2 feet tall, you can cut off some of the outer leaves for the dinner table. The new leaves in the center will mature and you’ll be able to continue harvesting. If your Swiss chard ends up calling in all the snails in your neighborhood, just toss some Sluggo out there. But, if your winter garden is under row covers, you might escape this problem all together.

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