Swiss Chard, a Tasty Winter Treat Indoors

In winter, it is hard to find purchased greens that maintain freshness very long and are tasty.

Swiss chard has a mild flavor and is easy to grow indoors, especially if started in late fall for a winter crop. Related to beets, Swiss chard is a member of Amaranthaceae that originated in the Mediterranean.


Swiss chard is a biennial. It is grown as greens for a salad, a sautéed side dish or added to soup like spinach. In this region, Swiss chard is planted as an annual outdoors. In that it is a biennial, helps to achieve 3 or more cuttings without the plant bolting or forming seed.

Like spinach, Swiss chard is a cole crop that may be harvested outdoors in May in this region. As a late crop, it continues to grow until a killing frost without a cover.

Indoors under florescent light, Swiss chard is found to be most favorable as a winter crop, especially if germinated by late fall.  Florescent lights are about a foot above the leaves. Light extends beyond all sides of the tray to ensure adequate light in winter with less indirect light.



Experience here, is that Swiss chard better adapts to container growth under light than spinach, kale or mustard. This tray has about a six-inch depth of soil. The three- foot tray provides a harvest for two people as a side dish. Swiss chard may be harvested as soon as leaves are mature. Young leaves are more tender. Grown under light, Swiss chard tends to be more tender than outdoors.


Called “diet food,” Swiss chard supplies Vitamin A, K and C, magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium, especially raw in a salad. It’s low on carbohydrates and fats.

Thanks for your visit to Plant Exchange blog. We hope you’ll enjoy several topics here and return next week!





2 thoughts on “Swiss Chard, a Tasty Winter Treat Indoors

  1. This is one of the vegetables that works nicely as an ornamental as well. My first was red, and even though I am none too keen on red foliage, I liked how colorful it was right on the edge of the patio. I grew a row of green chard in another garden, right along the edge of the patio. We took what we wanted without making much of a dent in it. The only sad part of it was that because it was grown as an ornamental, and there was so much of it, much of it went to waste without being eaten. Nowadays, I typically grow only beets (because I TOTALLY dig beets) and am satisfied with the beet greens as the ‘other’ chard. However, friends and neighbors prefer the real chard, which is more versatile for salads. (Beet greens are best cooked.) Next time, I might grow the variety that is green with white midribs, but would be pleased to grow any variety that the neighbors want, even if it is the mixed colors.

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