Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Chard

Family: Goosefoot
Seed Varieties Dates to Maturity:
  • Bright Lights - This is a multicolored variety producing plants with different colored stems, and varying shades of leaves.
  • Ruby Red - This is a typical chard variety with deep red stems and rich green leaves.
Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 3/28 in open 200s

Fall Succession - 6/15 in open 200s

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 4/11 into 38s

Fall succession - 6/29 into 38s

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Can be planted outside as soon as soil can be worked (early April) but about one month after initial planting (4/27, 7/15). The seedlings may need less time in the greenhouse during the summer when they grow more quickly. Plant four rows per bed with plants every foot within a row.

Planting Tips:

When transplanting outside bury plant up to first true leaves. This will bury the first of the stem, but will save the plant energy.

Plant Needs:

It is easy to let the weeds take over all the early greens while busy with the rest of spring planting but try and stay on top of the weeds early on. When the plants get bigger, they will shade out the weeds and will produce bigger leaves without the competition.

Cultivation Techniques:

Stirrup or collinear hoes work great early on but at some point it will be necessary to switch to hand weeding when the plants are big enough.

Pests and Pest Control:

Early on flea beetles can be trouble. Using row cover until it gets too hot is the best, but do not forget to check on the weeds under the row cover.

Harvest Techniques:

It is important to harvest chard early when it is cool and to only harvest by hand. Break off largest leaves at the base around the outside. Be careful of the new growth in the center where new leaves will keep shooting up. When bunched and rubber-banded, use a knife to trim the base up, leaving enough stem so that the bunches stay together.


As usual, harvest early and cool quickly. Wash and store bunched in a perforated bag in a lug in the refrigerator.


Sold as a bunch for $2.50 or two for $4.00. For wholesale, chard is $2.00 per bunch.