Swiss Chard -- Lots of Eating, Lots of Seed
[pictured: red chard surrounded by oak leaf lettuce]
I’m swimming in Swiss chard -- and chard seed.
All of the chard plants in the garden are huge right now, and there is a lot of of it. We’ll be eating off these same plants all winter too.
The chard plants we ate from last summer and this past winter are now in full seed. So far, half the seed has dried on the stalk and has been harvested, and it is about a cup and half of seed, which seems like it will about last me the rest of my lifetime. The other half is still green on the stalk in the garden and drying slowly.
This chard seed has been a long time in the making -- 17 months, to be exact.
These plants were “born” from seed planted in the geothermal greenhouse on Feb. 27 2011, according to my garden journal. The starts were transplanted to the garden in May 2011, where they grew all summer, and we ate from them, taking the outer leaves. They then overwintered in a homemade cold frame, and we continued to eat from them all winter long, still taking the outer leaves, leaving the center leaves to grow out.
The plants finally bolted, which means they put out seed stalks, in late May 2012. And now, in the last week of July, half have dried enough to be harvested, and the other half of the seed stalks will be dry within 10 days. The plants are dead, by the way, they died totally about three weeks ago. All that is left now are the seed stalks, some of which are still green but are slowly drying. The seed, if you are thinking of trying this at home, should stay on the stalks until they are dry. If they are harvested green, your germination will be low or zilch.
[pictured: white chard in foreground, winter squash in background]