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How to sow and grow rainbow chard

Chard is a super easy vegetable to grow yourself. It grows quickly, diseases and pests leave it alone, and you can harvest almost all year round. The leaves are delicious in all kinds of dishes.

Plus: the brightly colored stems are simply gorgeous.
Supermooie snijbiet in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Colorful rainbow chard

What is chard?

Chard is a leafy vegetable and this variety has large, hearty leaves and stems that look a little like rhubarb.

You eat both the leaves and the stems. The taste is similar to spinach with a hint of beet: great for cooking in stir fries. Young leaves are nice in a salad.

It's too bad you rarely see chard the supermarket. The good news is, it's so easy to grow you'll see it a lot in your vegetable garden 😉

Chard is part of the amaranth family - just like beets and spinach - but we classify it as a leaf vegetable.

How good is chard for you?

Chard is very healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, C, and K, iron, copper, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.

Chard's been used to treat all kinds of ailments since ancient times.

Healthy flavonoids in chard like lutein, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zeaxanthin are anti-inflammatory antioxidents. So chard can help fight off cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

It's even good for the eyes 😁
Snijbiet in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Chard at the end of summer

More about our chard seeds

Chard germinates easily, grows quickly, and has no trouble with pests or snails. The plants get huge and you can harvest leaves pretty much all year long. 

This variety has beautifully colored stems: white, yellow, and red. Delicious, nutritious, and gorgeous. Cook the leaves like spinach in a stir fry. 
  • Species name: Bright Lights 
  • Family: leaf 
  • Plants per square patch:
  • Height: 30 to 50 cm 
  • Sowing time: April to mid-August 
  • Sowing depth: 1 - 1.5 cm 
  • Germination time: 12 - 18°C in 5 - 12 days 
  • Time to harvest: after 7 weeks 
  • Sunlight: can grow in both sun and shade 
Want to buy Chard seeds? We sell seed bags separately, or, you can get them as part of a seed pack:

What do you need to grow chard yourself?

You only need a few things:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, rich soil mix
  • chard seeds
  • a place with at least 4 hours of sunlight a day
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in 1 of our garden boxes, filled with MM-Mix.

Growing your own chard is super easy with the MM-Mix. If you grow in low-quality (potting) soil, disappointment is pretty much guaranteed. So don't skimp on soil mix: go for the best.
Snijbiet in een Mini-MM of Planty
Chard in a MM-Mini grow bag

How to sow and grow chard?

Our chard seeds are included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each vegetable goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So you don't need to know how to grow chard before you start: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Snijbiet staat ook in de app van de Makkelijke Moestuin

Level 1: Sowing chard

Choose a square patch at the 3rd or back row of your garden box. Loosen up the moist MM-Mix and sow like this:
  • poke 4 holes in the patch (no deeper than 1 cm)
  • put 2 to 3 seeds in each hole
  • carefully cover up the holes with soil mix
After about 5 to 12 days, you'll see something come up. It depends a bit on the weather.
Chard seeds

Level 2: Chard seedlings

As soon as you see the first seedlings, you know things are going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but give it another week.

Then it's time for the next level.
Zaailingen van snijbiet in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Chard seedlings

Level 3: Thinning out chard seedlings

Several seedlings come up in each spot that you sowed? Choose the best ones and remove the rest: that's called thinning out. It might sound harsh, but it's necessary. 

Each chard seed is actually a small nugget containing 3 to 5 seeds. If they all come up, you'll have way too many plants.

If you look closely, you'll see that the stems of the seedlings are different colors: red, pink, and yellow. So you can choose a nice mix.

If you see a spot where nothing came up, just sow a few more seeds. 
Zaailingen van snijbiet hebben al gekleurde stengeltjes
Chard seedlings already have their colored stems

Level 4: Caring for your chard plants

After 3 weeks or so, your seedlings will become small plants. 

You hardly need to do anything at this stage: if the weather's dry, give them some water and remove the odd dead or yellow leaf. Easy 🙂
Klein snijbietplantje in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Small chard plant

Level 5: Harvesting chard

About 7 to 8 weeks after sowing, the little plants are ready to harvest. 

Cut or pick off a few of the outer leaves. Leave the center of the plants so they continue to grow from the inside out.

The more you pick, the faster the plant will produce new leaves. Just be sure to always leave a few: the plant needs them to produce its nutrients.

By picking as you go, you can continue to harvest from your chard patch throughout the year until the frost sets in. In a mild winter, you can continue to harvest.
Volwassen snijbietplanten in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Mature chard ready for harvesting

What do you use chard for?

Most people use the leaves like spinach or endive and the taste is somewhere in between.

You can boil the chard leaves and stems briefly or add them to a stir fry or stew. The stems need a little longer to cook than the leaves.

You can also eat chard raw: young leaves in salads and older leaves in green smoothies.
Risotto met snijbiet Makkelijke Moestuin
Risotto with chard and peas. Photo: by Manonnie

Level 6: Keep harvesting all year round

You can leave chard plants in their patch all year.

Until it freezes. Then the leaves get limp and ugly. But in mild winters you can just keep harvesting.

If the plants stay in their patch until spring, they'll start to flower. The leaves won't taste that great anymore, so it's better to remove them.
Eind januari: snijbietplanten van vorig jaar in de Makkelijke Moestuin
End of January: chard from last year in the back

So: ready to grow your own chard?

It's 1 of the easiest vegetables to grow yourself, you can enjoy it for a long time, and it tastes great.

Plus: with our materials and app it's practically impossible to fail 😉

Order your chard seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:

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