Urban agriculture

Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens ‘Bright Lights’

That name’s quite a mouthful and so is this leafy colourful plant!  Also known as rainbow chard this  chenopod features hilighter-esque coloured veins in dark green leafy leaves and a refreshingly bitter taste.  Along with doing double duty as an ornamental edible, chard is also incredibly tolerant of changes in temperature – mine has flourished right through the summer heat and is still fine now that the nights are chilly.

I just love having this vibrant leafy gem in my garden!  It’s been growing prolifically all season and I’ve been grabbing leaves off it here or there for delicious salad and sandwich fillers. Most people harvest the leaves from the chard plants when the leaves are small and tender, but while I do cut many like that, I like to leave others to grow huuuuge colourful thick stalks as celery. True the leaves are thicker and a bit tough but the vibrant stalks are great to chop up and add colour to many different dishes!  As long as the roots are not severed, gently pulling the outer leaves from each plants as they grow will ensure a continually young harvest throughout the season.  I’ve harvested armfuls of the stuff and its still growing strong!

It might appear to be the end of the gardening season but I’ve had swiss chard survive frost and even snow, so I’m actually transplanting in more!  I had thrown a bunch of seeds in a small container of soil then forgot about it when it got tucked behind some junk in the greenhouse.  By the time I found it there were tons of medium size seedlings, completely root bound but quite healthy.  I figured I’d transplant all of them and see what happens, they’re pretty resilient!  Did you know that even the roots of rainbow chard are rainbow?  I was surprised to find that they are… for some reason that makes me quite cheerful : )


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