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Harvest Monday: Swiss Chard

July 23, 2012

Since my summer garden went in late, there’s nothing to harvest yet. Tomatoes show promise but everything else is still a month off. The zucchini may arrive sooner. The apricots and strawberries have waned, though a large Gordon apple dropped from the tree. The marionberries disappoint again this year because of the Botrytis fungus, but that’s another post.

The Swiss chard, planted in late October still delights and produces well. When I lack a vegetable for dinner, it’s always there and the ways to prepare it are endless. For my recitation of the virtues of Swiss chard, read my March post, Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights.’

Over the weekend I needed a quick prep vegetable for my solo dinner. Within five minutes of harvest, it was ready to serve.

Stalks were sliced very thinly and the leaves cut in one inch strips. I steamed them together and for seasoning added lemon pepper, garlic powder and balsamic vinegar. It was a spritely accompaniment to a leftover pasta dish.

To keep the chard producing for almost eight months, I cut the flower stalks when they appear and harvest regularly. I harvested all the chard for freezing in late spring then placed compost around the plants and doused with liquid kelp fertilizer. The leaves came back with new vigor. The plants would probably appreciate some compost now to nourish and cool the roots. Maybe the chard will last until I replant in the fall.

I continue to dispatch the bird pecked leaves to the compost bin. (Note damage above). It took me awhile to determine the large holes and stripped leaves were not the work of snails. To spare the chard, I had it under row cover for a time. Apparently the birds like Swiss chard as much as I do.

Garlic: Crop Failure

Gardening at the beach...