August 11, 2022
It’s the chard that keeps on giving! Last spring, while visiting a local garden center, the white “tag” caught my eye. Already a fan of Swiss chard, especially the peppermint stick variety, I was easily persuaded to try something new. After purchasing a 4” pot of Swiss Chard Perpetual Spinach, the only task left was getting it into my spring garden. Two seasons and five months later my little plant has not disappointed.
Springtime growth was vigorous yielding smooth, dark-green leaves resembling spinach with fine midribs. Tasting more like a true spinach than chard, the flat, pointed leaves are flavorful and rich in antioxidants. Throughout the summer, at times it looked a little ragged but with a gentle trimming, new growth quickly appeared. Even during the 100 degree plus temperatures, Perpetual has maintained its vigor. Harvesting is best done when the leaves are still small and tender.
Longstanding in the garden, the potential for an abundant fall crop is promising. Perpetual is slow to bolt, so it’s a great choice for the Southern garden. Use leaves fresh in salads, sautéed or cooked and added to your favorite recipes.
Fruit Size: 8 to 10 inches
Growth Habit: Clumping, Erect, Sprouts in 14-21 Days
Days to Maturity: About 40 days
Growing Conditions: Sun (4-8 hours) to part shade
Sow seeds in place, ½” deep, after the frost-free date. Spacing should be 8 to 10” apart. Keep well-watered and side dress with compost for best leaf production.
One cup of chopped chard contains only 35 calories. It also supplies more than 700 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A.
Linda Alexander, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2008