This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(eft pronounced as in charge). Swiss Chard. Sea-Kale Beet. A form of the plant (Beta vulgaris) which has produced the common beet; known as Beta Cicla (p. 496). See Beet and Beta.
The beet plant has given rise to two general types of varieties: those varieties with thickened roots (the beet of America, the beet-root of European literature); and those with large and pulpy or thickened leaves (but whose roots are small and woody). The latter type is known under the general name of leaf-beets. These leaf-beets may be arranged into two sub-groups: (1) Common or normal leaf-beets, or spinach beets, in which the leaf-blade is large and pulpy, and is used as spinach; chard, in which the petiole and midrib are very broad and thick, is a form of this, although the name is sometimes used as synonymous with the general edible leaf-beet group. (Fig. 897); (2) ornamental beets, of which the foliage is variously colored.
Chard is of the easiest culture. Seed is sown in spring, as for common beets. The broad petioles, or chards, may be gathered from midsummer until frost. These broad white stalks or ribs are used as a pot-herb; and, if desired, the leaf-blades may be cooked with them. The dish is usually more attractive, however, if only the chards are cooked. If cutting of the leaves is carefully performed, a succession may be had till cold weather. Chard is an attractive vegetable when well grown, but is little used in this country.
L. H. B
Fig. 897. Chard, or sea-kale beet.