A plant like chard, or beet, It is still not widespread in our latitudes. In the meantime, it is very much appreciated in the Mediterranean countries. There it is eaten on a par with spinach, because its benefits to the human body are no less. In this article we offer you recommendations for planting and caring for leaf beets in the garden plot. However, first we will understand what chard is and what it is eaten with, so to speak.
- Description of chard and its types
- What does chard need for successful growth
- Chard Precursors
- Lighting for chard
- What should be the soil for planting leaf beets
- Features landing chard
- How to care for chard outdoors
- Soil care and watering plants
- How to fertilize chard
- Pest and disease control of chard
- Chard: Harvesting
Description of chard and its types
Chard - A special variety of beets, which, unlike an ordinary relative, has inedible roots and edible leaves and petioles. This biennial vegetable crop belongs to the family of blooming.Cultivation of chard salad is practiced in the USA, Europe, Japan, India and other countries. The leaves of leaf beets are juicy, fleshy, 30-40 cm tall. Depending on the variety, they have different colors - red, green, green-pink, green-purple. Root this plant does not form at all. There are two types of chard: stem (stalked, long-veined) and leafy (shnitt-chard, chard-chisel). In stem, along with the leaves, stalks are also suitable for food. They are wide and fleshy, also have a different color: green, yellow, red.
There are many varieties of leaf lettuce, which differ in the color of the stems, leaves and petioles, as well as the shape of the leaves. The most common among them are "Emerald", "Scarlet", "Belavinka", "Green", "Lyon", "Spinach", etc. The plant is also represented by decorative varieties with petioles of various colors, curly and wavy foliage.These include, for example, "Yellow-throated", "Red-stalked", "Silver Curly", etc. In addition to the garden, they can be planted in beds and mixborders.
What does chard need for successful growth
Chard - an unpretentious plant, its cultivation and care do not present any particular difficulties and are very similar to the cultivation of red beet. Below you will find recommendations on the crop rotation of this crop, the choice of location, the selection of the soil and the methods of planting it in open ground.
It is better to plant leaf beets on the place where plants used to grow, when they were grown, organic fertilizers, for example, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, were introduced into the soil. In order to follow the rules of crop rotation of chard beets, it is not necessary to grow it at the same place every year, it is better to return the crop to the same land after three years. It is also not recommended to sow the plant in areas where previously spinach, cabbage, and beets were grown. First of all, it is necessary to do this in order to protect leaf beets from diseases and pests.
Lighting for chard
Mangold is not picky about lighting, it can grow in open areas of the garden and in partial shade. However, it is important to know that with strong and long-term shading lettuce leaf beets will grow more slowly and will not give as large leaves as in good light. Also in a plant growing in the shade, an increased amount of nitrates may be observed.
What should be the soil for planting leaf beets
Sheet beets can grow on any soil, but it will be especially tasty and meaty when planted in a moist and fertile soil with neutral acidity. The plant does not tolerate acidic soils very well. Before sowing, it is advisable to fertilize the soil with humus or compost (3-4 kg / 1 square meter). However, this should be done in the fall. In the spring, organic fertilizers are applied approximately 12-14 days before sowing.
Features landing chard
For planting chard using seeds or seedlings. Rassadniy method rarely resorted. When planting chard in the open ground, will depend on how long you want to get a harvest. At the same time, experienced gardeners recommend not sowing it too early (before April), in order not to fall into the spring frosts. Although the plant is quite cold-resistant - the seeds can germinate at a temperature of + 4-5 ºС and tolerate slight frosts, it is better to plant at higher temperatures. The most favorable for them will be 18-20 ºС. If your goal is a very early harvest, then you can use the seedling method or carry out sowing under the film. Petiolate varieties will be ready to eat 90-100 days after planting, leafy ones 60-70 days later. In order for a long time and in the early periods to have fresh greens on your table, it is recommended to plant leaf beets in three periods: in the first weeks of May, in mid-July (harvest will be in early spring) and before winter. The best time to plant for the first time will be the beginning of May. Before planting chard seeds, it is necessary to prepare wells for each seed.The distance between the pits is 25-30 cm long, between the rows - 35-40 cm (25 cm for leaf varieties). Seeds deepen into the soil by 2-2.5 cm.
Young chard sprouts, obtained as a result of growing from seed, should appear in about 20 days. One seed gives several shoots, so that the seedlings will need to be thinned, leaving gaps between them of 40 cm for petiolate varieties and 10 cm for leaf ones. To further multiply your leaf salad, you can collect the seeds themselves. The mature testes are cut and suspended for maturation. Seeds from chard are the same as in ordinary beets. They must be stored in paper bags. Germination they retain for three years.
Since the reproduction of leaf lettuce with the help of seedlings is not so common, we will only briefly mention how to plant chard with seedlings. The main advantage of this method will be that in this way it is possible to achieve an earlier harvest. Sow plants for seedlings can be in early April.Before sowing seeds for seedlings, they should be soaked for one day.
Since the root system of chard is very developed, it is necessary to select a deep container or individual pots for seedlings. The distance between crops should be 25-30 cm. In open ground, seedlings are planted when it reaches the age of 3.5-4.5 weeks and growth of 8-9 cm, in the beginning or in the middle of May. It can be planted tightly - keeping intervals of 15-20 cm between plants. By harvest, the crop will be ready in about a month when the leaves reach a height of about 25 cm.
How to care for chard outdoors
Although the cultivation of chard in the open field does not cause any particular difficulties, yet in order to achieve a good harvest in the form of large, succulent leaves, it is necessary to take care of the seedlings. Care will be in the periodic loosening of the soil, watering, feeding and removal of peduncles.
Soil care and watering plants
The soil under the chard must be periodically weeded in order to destroy the weeds and facilitate the access of oxygen to the roots. Obligatory loosening should be after watering and rains so as not to form a crust.Sheet beets like moisture (but not stagnant), so it is worth watering it abundantly, especially during dry periods. The frequency of irrigation will depend on the weather, but it is better if it is at least once a week.
How to fertilize chard
Sheet salad responds well to top dressing. However, when carrying out this procedure, you need to know the measure, since an overabundance of fertilizers can lead to the opposite effect - cause harm to the plant. Excessive feeding threaten the accumulation of nitrates in the plant. Feed the chard is necessary after each cut leaves or petioles. To do this, use a solution of urea (10 g / 10 l of water), mullein (1: 5), liquid herbal fertilizer.
Pest and disease control of chard
Mangold can affect diseases and parasites, largely due to improper planting and care. Most often leaf lettuce is exposed to powdery mildew. Favorable conditions for the development of this disease are prolonged rain and stagnant moisture, as well as damage by parasites.The main symptom of this disease is a white mealy coating on the leaves. As a preventive measure in this ailment, pollination with a solution of sulfur, nitrogenous and phosphorus-potassium supplements is recommended. With the defeat of powdery mildew, diseased plants are removed, spraying is carried out with authorized preparations.
Also on the leaf beets can develop a fungus that causes disease "black leg". Symptoms - the leaves wither, the stems turn black, the roots wither. The disease can lead to the death of the plant. In hot weather, death can occur rapidly - just six days after the onset of the disease. To protect the chard from the black leg, it should be planted only on the beds carefully cleaned in the fall. It is necessary to observe the moderate mode of watering.
Corneal, beet aphid, beetroot, wireworm are harmful for leaf lettuce. In the fight against parasites, preventive measures, the observance of the rules of crop rotation and agricultural engineering come to the fore. Since an above-ground portion is used for eating lettuce, the use of insecticides is undesirable.They should be used only in extreme cases and with the mass distribution of parasites. When choosing drugs, preference should be given to biological agents that are not dangerous to humans and the environment.
The leaves of chard, planted in April-May, can be cut from late June to late autumn as needed. They break off along with the stalks at the base. The more often to cut the sheets, the more abundant they will grow. On average, from 1 square. m plants per season, you can collect 1 kg of green.
In stalked varieties, only young leaves are eaten. More rough external food is not suitable. It is advisable to eat torn leaf beets on the day of harvest. The longer it will be stored, the less nutrients it will remain. In addition, it quickly fades. In the refrigerator, the washed product is stored in a plastic bag for no longer than two days.
Although chard leaf beet is a perennial plant, it is customary to grow it as an annual in the kitchen gardens. However, if you make sure that he can comfortably spend the winter, properly covering him, you can ensure that fresh greens appear in the earliest periods.In winter, the plants are cut at the root and covered with a layer of soil, peat, sawdust, leaves. In the process of harvesting chard in its place, you can gradually plant leaf lettuce.
Mangold is becoming increasingly popular in our region, mainly because this vegetable is unpretentious in its maintenance, cold-resistant and contains a large amount of substances useful for the human body. If it is right and in the early stages to plant it, then you can ensure that it becomes the first vitamin green that will be in your kitchen after the winter avitaminosis period.