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How to grow Silver Beet or Swiss Chard
The Silver Beet or Swiss Chard is quite distinct from the Red Beet, in so much as it is solely grown for the leaves and does not form a root of any account for edible purposes.
The leaves form a splendid substitute for, and are stripped from the midrib and cooked similarly to Spinach. As Silver Beet is more easily grown than Spinach it makes a particularly fine substitute for this “healthy” vegetable. the midribs of the leaves can be boiled or steamed and served with white sauce similarly to Celery, which vegetable they very much resemble in flavor. Silver Beet requires a rich well manured soil, and a fine, thoroughly prepared seed bed. Seed can be sown during Spring, but it is unnecessary to plant a succession as the plants will continue to bear until cut down by frost. Silver Beet will live through a mild Winter, and will start to bear again in the Spring.
Top Tip: Before sowing, steep the seed in cold, clean water for eighteen to twenty hours. This will considerably quicken as well as facilitate germination.
Sow the seed in rows 24 to 27 inches apart, allowing about ¼ inch between the seeds, and covering with about inch of soil. When about 4 inches high, thin out to 2 inches apart, and about a week later remove every other seedling and continue this “thinning out” process until the plants are 15 inches apart in the rows. These remaining plants will constitute the permanent crop. The later seedlings removed will be large enough to cook as “greens,” and need not be wasted. The permanent crop will be ready to pick about Summer, and will continue to bear until the Winter. The only cultivation necessary is working the soil thoroughly, keeping down the weeds, and in seeing that the plants have the right amount of moisture.