Can you store swiss chard plants indoors during the winter months?

roytg94 Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

I have some rainbow swiss chard that I would like to keep alive over the winter so that I can replant them in the spring. Any suggestions?


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    @roytg94 Swiss Chard is a biennial. So if you are in a suitable climate, it will go dormant for the winter and regrow in the spring. However, in the second year of its life, the focus is on creating seed so the leaves are coarser and more bitter tasting. It will develop a thick stalk with a flower head and then seeds. The leaves on the second year also tend to be more sparse.

    Swiss Chard is so easy to grow from seed. You could plant some seeds inside in the spring for an early start but I wouldn't save last year's plants. Or you could grow under lights for a winter crop. Swiss Chard is good as a microgreen.

  • roytg94
    roytg94 Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    @torey Thanks for the insight! Growing it for seeds the second year would be worth it. The plants came up late and were small. Any ideas on how I can get a larger crop from seed? I did plant it early and I live in zone 4.5.

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Hi @roytg94

    We grew swisscgard year round in the southern applacians. Growing zone 6b. Our kale also survives the winter out here.

    What's your zone? It might be fine outside.

    It does want to go to seed just like @torey mentions.

    Cutting I back in the spring allows for another harvest of tasty leaves.

  • IrisB
    IrisB Posts: 142 ✭✭✭

    I live in a climate with very little frost, not sure what zone that is in the US. I let my silverbeet self seed. I select the best plants in the summer and mark them for the rest of the family, so that we harvest the others and leave the really strong plants alone so that they can move all the energy from the leaves to the roots.

    If a more severe frost is expected I wrap them in frost cloth or a blanket at night but usually that's not necessary. Even if the plants look very ragged in early spring they come again nicely very soon because of their strong roots. This gives an abundance of early flowers - to admire, to eat, for the bees and of course to let the majority go to seed. The seeds are harvested late spring or early summer depending on the weather of the year and then you have the bed ready for a new crop in summer, when I usually run out of garden space.

    Usually you get an abundance of kale seedlings popping up everywhere in summer and autumn - leave some for the continuing cycle and put the rest in the salad.