Tag Archives: chard

Crops in the ground

As much fun as it is to sow seed and dream about the crops to come, there is something special about getting those first crops in the ground; it is the moment when all of that bare soil suddenly starts to look productive. We recently planted out the first rows of peas and the broad bean plants. This weekend we planted out the first lettuces and endive, chard and spinach, and a variety of brassicas. Continue reading

Sowing this week

There are all sorts of things that can be sown in February, including brassicas of various kinds, broad beans, hardy lettuces, and artichokes. Many seeds will germinate at temperatures of 5°C and above. Cold, wet soil, though, is not the place to do it. With some undercover space, the temperature will be better, so germination markedly improved in both reliability and speed, and the compost can be kept at a more suitable moisture level, so that seed or seedlings do not sit in the soil and rot before they can get started properly. Continue reading

Swiss chard with sweetcorn

The versatile leaves of swiss chard

The versatile leaves of Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a versatile crop that can be sown from spring through to late summer or early autumn. It is, perhaps, most useful when sown late and overwintered for a spring harvest, when other vegetables can be in short supply. The young plants stand well through the winter and then put on vigorous growth as conditions improve in the spring, providing a great harvest from a relatively small space. At this time of year, the chard is just about to go to seed, so the harvest from the overwintered plants is coming to an end. When young, the smaller leaves can be used for the salad, whilst the larger leaves can be cooked like spinach. The thick ribs can also be cooked separately or added to stocks and soups. I often prepare a dish with both, braising the ribs until tender and adding the greens towards the end of cooking. At this time of year, though, the ribs are a little coarse so I wanted a quick side dish to use up the last of the enormous leaves. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 6 – odds and ends

This final article in the series looking at our sowing plans for 2014 covers those odds and ends that did not fit well in any of the previous parts. Included here are the tubers – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. At some point I would like to experiment with other tubers, such as oca, but I doubt that we will get around to it this year. Also included are various leafy things. Continue reading