Swiss Chard, Rhubard

 Rhubarb (Swiss Chard)

Heirloom. Organic. Rhubarb is a cool season, perennial vegetable, grown for its leafstalks that have a unique tangy taste used for pies and sauces. Rhubarb was first cultivated in the Far East more than 2,000 years ago. It was initially grown for medicinal purposes, and not until the 18th century was it grown for culinary use in Britain and America. This crop requires winter temperatures below 40 degrees F to break dormancy and stimulate spring growth; and summer temperatures averaging less that 75 degrees F for vigorous vegetative growth. The tops are usually killed in the first heavy freeze in the fall, but roots survive and produce new tops the following spring. While the leafstalks are edible, the leaves themselves contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten.

 

Planting Rhubarb Swiss Chard

While starting seeds of the Rhubarb Swiss Chard is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Rhubarb Swiss Chard seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position.  Heirloom / Open Pollinated Rhubarb Swiss Chard are cool weather loving plants that prefer well drained loose soil and an even amount of water. Plant heirloom Rhubarb Swiss Chard in rows or hills but make sure the soil is well warmed. In cooler climates, you can start Chard seeds indoors 2-4 wks. before last frost to extend the growing season.

  Height: 12-30 inch Plants   Spacing: 18-24" inches,

Depth: 1/2  inch Germination: 7-10 days

Starting from Seed Indoors. Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 2-3 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 2 to 3 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches of the potting mix. Mist each  pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 7 to 10 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.

Direct-seeding into the Garden. Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/2 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 6 to 8 inches in rows approximately 8-12 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/2 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for the Chard plants is approximately 7 to 10 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.   

Germination Problems

Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted.  Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others.  We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors.  Good luck.