Bright Lights Swiss Chard. 55 days
Swiss Chard is a great addition to the background of a flower garden as the dark green leaves set off bright flowers growing in front. In gardens where there is no room for vegetables, a few chard plants can be included with flowers. Swiss chard produces for most of the summer and should be thinned to give more room for maturing plants. They must be watered well during the heat of the summer. The leaves are cooked like spinach and the stalks are also eaten. Seeds can be soaked for a few hours before planting.
Bright Lights is a variety of chard that had red, orange, or purple stalks. The taste is the same but it is more attractive plant.
Swiss chard is relatively cold hardy in the Fraser Valley BC and there have been years where the plant has not frozen and it has survived to produce again in the spring. They look good in a raised bed in the fall.
Stoke Seeds (www.Stokeseeds.com) advertises a chard variety called Discovery (56 days) with red stalks suitable for baby leaf production and with an exceptional cold tolerance. Since the baby leaves can be picked young, this means an early harvest. The cold tolerance is helpful for gardens where cold temperatures are a problem.
West Coast Seeds (www.westcoastseeds.com/) describes Winter Gardening as summer planting for winter harvest and suggest that you plant your winter harvest garden of swiss chard from mid-July to early August. They comment:
In our mild Coastal climate we can grow some vegetables all winter without protection. You can eat these plants throughout the winter, so they need to be full size by about Halloween. Until Valentines Day, plants grow very slowly and do not re-grow after harvest as they might in the summer. The greatest challenges are rain, low light levels and temperature swings.
Many leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale, chard, salad greens and Oriental vegetables are perfectly suited for winter harvests. West Coast Seeds suggest that Bright Lights Swiss Chard can be grown in a large container.