How To Grow Swiss Chard Microgreens Fast And Easy
Swiss chard microgreens are slightly sweet and vegetal, and are a great addition to salads or sandwiches. We explain how to grow them!
If you think of green sprouts when you think of growing microgreens, you need to meet the beautiful Swiss chard microgreens. With their brightly colored stems and light green leaves, they’ll add much-appreciated color to your meals. Why settle for a green salad when you can add orange, yellow, or red chard?
Swiss chard microgreens have a sweet earthy flavor similar to beets, which is no surprise since they’re in the beet family. They’re also full of nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, and K, dietary fiber, and protein. Adding Swiss chard microgreens to sandwiches and salads is an enjoyable way to add more nutrients to your diet.
Like other microgreens, Swiss chard microgreens can be grown all year long indoors under grow lights. So, if you fall in love with them, you don’t have to worry about running out. It’s easy to grow Swiss chard microgreens, so let’s get into how to do it so you can chow down on some microgreens!
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Swiss Chard Microgreens Quick Info
|Similar to beets and spinach, sweet, earthy
Growing Swiss Chard Microgreens
Before you can begin to grow Swiss chard microgreens, you have to gather the materials. Then, with a little patience and daily care, you’ll have some crunchy greens to enjoy in 1-2 weeks.
To grow Swiss chard microgreens, you’ll need a few things to get started:
- Seeds: We highly recommend Swiss chard seeds from True Leaf Market, which we’ve listed below.
- Containers: You’ll need three shallow grow trays. One of them should have drainage holes.
- Growing medium: We recommend Espoma’s seed starting mix or coconut coir.
- Light: We recommend T5 grow lights. Find our favorites in our grow light guide.
- Spray bottle: Ideally, your bottle should have a fine mist.
- Sharp scissors: Kitchen scissors or gardening shears will work well.
- Heat mat: If you need help keeping the soil at the optimum temperature, heat mats will work wonders.
As mentioned above, we really love True Leaf Market’s microgreens seeds, and here’s a list of our favorites to choose from!
- Barese Dark Green Smooth Leaf Swiss Chard
- Pink Lipstick Swiss Chard
- Rainbow Mixture Swiss Chard
- Ruby Red Swiss Chard
- Organic Ruby Red Swiss Chard
- Yellow Swiss Chard
- Organic Yellow Swiss Chard
Although it’s not required, the trays you grow your Swiss chard microgreens in should be shallow. There are many benefits of a shallow microgreens tray, starting with good hydration. The roots don’t need much soil, so a little soil in a shallow tray will allow the soil to stay appropriately wet, and you won’t risk your microgreens drying out as quickly.
You’ll need three trays to start growing microgreens. One will help with bottom watering, one will hold the soil and Swiss chard seeds, and the other will sit on top during the blackout phase. The tray with the holes will be the one in the middle. The holes will help with airflow and hydration. The trays can be the same size, but you might find it easier if you have a larger watering tray. At the very least, you can get by with two trays and use a tea towel to cover up the seeds.
A sufficiently sunny window with plenty of natural light will help you grow microgreens, but a grow light will make it much easier. You don’t need a fancy grow light, but you will need something that you can keep close to the Swiss chard so they’ll grow upright and full rather than leggy and leaned over.
Soaking Swiss chard microgreens seeds isn’t necessary, but you may find it helpful to soak the seeds for up to a day before you plant them. Soaking softens the seed husks and allows the seeds to germinate at a faster rate.
It’s okay if you don’t want to soak the Swiss chard seeds ahead of time, but you may notice that the seeds grow at a slower rate, which will extend your wait time until harvest.
This is where the fun begins! Now that your Swiss chard seeds and materials are ready, it’s time to get the trays set up.
Fill the tray with holes with growing medium so that it’s just below the tray’s rim. Smooth out the medium, so the soil surface is flat. This will prevent the Swiss chard seeds from falling into crevices and creating clumps.
You should have a pretty thick plant density, but you shouldn’t have the seeds so close together that the plants overcrowd to the point of dying. The seeds should be close together in a thin layer but not on top of each other.
Swiss chard seeds are a bit on the bigger side, so you won’t need as much seed density to fill up the planting surface compared to mustard greens. They’re about the same size as beets seeds.
Spray the soil surface with a water bottle until you have moist soil, but don’t allow puddles or streams to form. Running water will move the seeds around and form clumps. The seed density should remain even after watering.
You don’t need to cover the Swiss chard seeds with more growing medium. As long as they have contact with the soil beneath them, they shouldn’t have any problems germinating.
Once your Swiss chard seeds are moistened, put the third tray on top and set it to the side.
Your Swiss chard seeds should sit in the dark for 3-4 days, only removing the top tray periodically to spray the soil. You need to keep the soil moist, so you’ll likely be spraying the surface 2-3 times per day.
The most important thing to look out for while keeping your seeds moist is that you don’t overwater them. Too much water in the soil can cause mold to grow, and once that happens, you’ll have to throw out all of the Swiss chard microgreens and start all over.
At the 3-4 day mark, you should see Swiss chard sprouts popping out of the growing medium. They may look a little sickly since they’ll be yellowish and devoid of green, but that’s to be expected. Since they haven’t had any access to natural light, they haven’t been able to develop chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color.
At this point, if you don’t already have this tray sitting in another tray, it’s time to do so. Fill the bottom tray with some water and place the seed tray in it. Bottom watering is important past the seed stage because it will prevent mold from growing on the Swiss chard microgreens. The holes in the seed tray will allow the soil to soak up as needed. This method can also prevent overwatering. Refill the water tray when it’s empty.
This is also when you can remove the top tray for good and allow your Swiss chard microgreens to receive light. The tray should be kept under a grow light for 12-18 hours. This mimics how much sun plants get outside and will ensure that your growing microgreens are getting enough light. If you keep the light close to the tray, the Swiss chard microgreens won’t get leggy.
As the Swiss chard grows, you’ll see the stems start to develop color. If you chose ruby red Swiss chard, you’ll see dark red stems. If you choose a lighter variety such as yellow or orange chard, don’t be alarmed if your Swiss chard microgreens remain a yellow or light green color. Their natural yellow or orange color won’t be as bright in this early stage of development. If you choose rainbow chard, you’ll have a variety of colors that will be beautiful to look at.
You may want to do a little jig when it’s time to harvest microgreens, and that’s perfectly acceptable! Go ahead and do that first. We’ll still be here when you finish!
The ideal time to harvest Swiss chard microgreens is after they have their cotyledons, the first two leaves that will pop up, and before the first set of true leaves develop. This will be 8-12 days after the day you put the seeds on the growing medium.
If time escapes you and your Swiss chard microgreens have their first set of true leaves, you can still harvest and eat them. You’ll find that their flavor is less sweet, but they should still taste good enough to eat.
Before you harvest, you may notice that seed husks are stuck to the cotyledons. Brush your hand over the tops of the chard leaves to remove the nasty seed husks gently. You won’t be happy to find them in your dinner. If some of them don’t come off when you brush your hand across, you can simply pick them off one by one.
Use a sharp pair of clean scissors to cut the Swiss chard microgreens. Cut the greens just above the soil level, making sure you don’t end up with the growing medium mixed in with your harvested Swiss chard microgreens.
You may want to wash your Swiss chard microgreens as soon as you harvest them, but don’t do it right away if you’re going to store them in a container. The excess moisture may cause mold to grow or make the greens go bad faster.
Store Swiss chard microgreens in an airtight container or plastic bag. Put a paper towel or two inside the container with them to soak up excess moisture. They should last up to a week, but the sooner you eat them, the better.
Swiss chard microgreens taste sweet and earthy and will have a bit of a crunch. If anything seems off and they’ve been stored for about a week, it’s probably time to throw them out and grow some more.
You can wash Swiss chard microgreens when you’re ready to eat them, but you don’t have to if they look clean. If you harvested them without seed husks or growing medium on them, you know how you grew them, and you didn’t have any pests, there’s not a reason to wash them unless you need a little peace of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you eat Swiss chard sprouts?
A: You sure can! Swiss chard microgreens are best eaten before they grow their first set of true leaves. They’re colorful, sweet, and earthy, so they’re sure to liven up your salads and sandwiches.
Q: What are the healthiest microgreens?
A: Most microgreens are packed with vitamins and minerals, so you really can’t go wrong with whichever kind you choose. Swiss chard has vitamins A, B, C, and K, and they have dietary fiber, protein, and high levels of antioxidants. If you’re not interested in growing Swiss chard microgreens, other great choices include sunflower, radish, and wheatgrass.