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Swiss Chard, in all of its vibrant leafy glory, is one of the most versatile greens to grow. It has a sweet and mild flavor and can be prepared in many ways. It can be added to salads and smoothies or sauteed with olive oil and garlic for a delicious side. If you are deciding on whether or not to grow Swiss Chard in aquaponics gardens is a good idea, the answer is yes.
It’s one of the most popular and easy leafy green vegetables to grow. This variety of chard is also one of the most striking leafy vegetables, with yellow, purple, or red steps and rich dark green leaves. Swiss Chard has a high market value and is therefore very popular in commercial aquaponics systems. Its popularity is also helped along by its high nutritional value and fast growth rate.
In this article, we will show you how to cultivate a winning Swiss Chard harvest in your aquaponics garden.
Getting Started with Swiss Chard
Being very easy to grow, Swiss Chard is the perfect plant for novices and experts alike. It requires a fairly moderate nutrient uptake and favors a low supply of potassium and phosphorus. Another plus is that it can grow in temperatures as low as 5 °C. However, if you live in a region where summer temperatures are quite mild, there is no reason why you can’t grow your chard in full sunlight.
Swiss Chard is available in a selection of colors, ranging through lime green, white, red, and yellow. We recommend sowing seeds between spring and fall and thinning out seedlings once they grow to 2-3 cm in height. You should also leave a gap of 30 cm between plants as they have quite a wide leaf spread.
Recommended Growing Conditions
While Swiss Chard is a late-winter/spring crop and able to tolerate frost, it does best in temperatures of 16-24 °C. If you are growing your chard on the higher end of that scale or in full sunlight, you may want to consider a shading net. It is also a great choice for saline water due to its moderate tolerance to salinity. Aim for pH levels of 6–7.5.
Also, make sure to use a quality pH Meter.
Harvesting Your Swiss Chard
You should have Swiss Chard ready to harvest within about 12 weeks of sowing. To harvest your chard, take a sharp knife to cut the external leaves. Take care not to cut the center of the plant as this is where new leaves will grow from.
Dealing with Pests
Unfortunately, many pests could damage your crops before you get to harvest it. Moths, butterflies, and leaf-mining insects. Using a mesh or fleece when the plants are young can help to prevent pest infestations.
Get Started on Your First Crop Today
If you have been thinking about how to grow Swiss Chard in aquaponics gardens, you can see it is one of the easiest plants to grow and will give you great results rather quickly. In just a few weeks, you will have an impressive crop of chard to throw into salads and to add interest, crunch, and flavor to a host of different meals.