Chard (Beta Vulgaris)

418. Character And Uses

This vegetable is also known as Swiss chard, silver beet and leaf beet. The leaves are thick and broad and the leaf stalks large and fleshy. (Figure 81.) It is one of our best potherbs, although not appreciated nor well known among American gardeners. The leaf blades are prepared for the table like spinach, while the stalks and midribs are cooked and served as asparagus, being especially palatable when eaten on toast.

419. Culture

Chard is of easy culture. The plants may be started under glass in February, transplanted in flats before being set in the open ground. They are hardy and when properly grown will stand severe freezing. While they may be started under glass to advantage, the usual plan is to sow in the field when common garden beets are planted. The rows should be not less than 18 inches apart. Twelve to 15 seeds to each foot of drill should give a good stand. When about 6 inches high, thin to 3 inches and later to 8 or 12 inches in strong soils. The thinnings (both leaves and leaf stalks) may be used as greens.

Lucullus is the most popular variety. The plants grow very rapidly and several pickings may be made during the season, the central bud and leaves being preserved for additional growth. With heavy mulching the plants will winter without injury in some parts of the North. They may be readily protected in cold frames, and forced early in the spring. Nitrate of soda is especially valuable for this vegetable.

Chicory (Cichorium Intybus)

420. Character And Uses

Chicory is a well-known European vegetable. It is used to some extent in the large American cities. The roots are cooked like carrots, and when roasted also used as a substitute for coffee. The leaves may be cooked like dandelion. When well blanched they are prized for salad purposes.

421. Culture

Any soil adapted to other root crops will grow good chicory. The roots are hardy, remain in the ground over winter and send up tender leaves early in the spring. Several cuttings may be made from the same plants. As soon as the ground can be prepared in the spring the seed should be sown in rows 15 to 24 inches apart and the plants thinned to about 3 inches.

Chive (Allium Schoenoprasum)

422. Character And Uses

The chive or cive belongs to the onion family, and produces dense tufts of slender, hollow leaves valued for seasoning because of their mild onion-like flavor. The leaves may be used at any time during summer. As the terminal clusters of flowers are violet red, chives make an interesting plant for garden borders or edgings.

423. Culture

Any good garden soil will grow chives The plants are perennial and hardy, the roots remaining in the ground for many years. They are easily propagated by dividing and planting the roots early in the spring, or from seed sown « inch deep in rows about 12 inches apart. Later the plants are thinned to 6 inches. The roots may be divided and replanted every three or four years.

Collard

424. Culture

This is a form of kale grown in some parts of the South and occasionally in the North. The plants are started by the same methods as cabbage and set in garden or field about 3×4 feet apart. The leaves are used as greens.

Corn Salad (Valerianella Olitoria)

425. Character And Uses

This is an annual plant popular in Europe. It finds limited sale in this country. The leaves have a mild flavor and are valued for salad purposes, for greens and seasoning, and the curly varieties for garnishing. As the plants are sensitive to heat, they are grown as a fall or spring crop. They are hardy and may be wintered in the milder sections by protecting in cold frames, or with mulches where the winters are not too severe. Although the plants attain a height of nearly 2 feet, the young leaves are tender and delicious. Two crops may be gathered from the same plants.

426. Culture

The soil should be fertile and contain a bountiful supply of nitrogen. Dressings of nitrate of soda may be made to advantage. For the spring crop, sow in the open as soon as the ground can be prepared, or in the fall as for spinach. For the fall crop, sow late in the summer. The seed should be sown thinly in shallow drills. The rows need not be more than 12 inches apart, the plants thinned to 6 inches. Irrigation is a great advantage in growing this crop.

Cress

The piquant leaves of cress are used in salads and for garnishing. Three common forms are in cultivation. They belong to different genera, but all are members of the Crucifer* or mustard family.

427. Water Cress (Nasturtium Officinale)

Water Cress (Nasturtium Officinale) is a hardy, perennial, aquatic plant popular on all our city markets. The leaves of the prostrate plants are small and roundish. Water cress thrives best in shallow, running water which should be pure and clean. It may also be grown in moist or wet, shady places, but springs and brooks are preferable. With irrigation it is grown to perfection in all soils, although as a commercial enterprise, success is much more certain with favorable natural conditions. It is readily propagated by scattering the small seeds along brooks or about springs or by planting short pieces of the stems in wet soil. When planted in wet, shady spots or under irrigating lines the plants should be set 5 to 8 inches apart each way. They may be easily started under glass early in the spring and transplanted into flats 1« inches apart and watered frequently.

428. Garden Or Pepper Cress (Lcpidium Sativum)

Garden Or Pepper Cress (Lcpidium Sativum), a popular European salad plant, is grown to a limited extent in the United States. It is an annual and one of the best early salad plants, easily grown in any good garden loam. Moist soils should preferably be very fertile, to encourage a rapid growth and the production of crisp, tender leaves. With favorable cultural conditions the leaves will be large enough to use in four weeks from sowing. Sow thickly in shallow drills about a foot apart. Conserve the moisture by frequent tillage and water artificially, if possible. Gather the leaves when wanted and allow another crop to develop. Garden cress is a spring and fall crop and does not thrive in midsummer.

429. Upland Cress (Barbarea Vulgaris And B. Proecox)

Upland Cress (Barbarea Vulgaris And B. Proecox) is the least important of the three forms. It is native to a large part of the United States, but is not cultivated to any great extent. It is perfectly hardy and does best as a fall or winter crop. The seed remains in the ground all winter and germinates in the spring. Cultural directions given for garden cress apply equally well to upland cress.