Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard has been on my "Want to Grow" list for some time. As microgreens and in the garden as Swiss Chard is one of my favorite greens to grow and eat.
At first, I was looking for Peppermint Swiss Chard but could never find a supplier for the seed volume I wanted to buy.
Then I came across Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard. I like it better because the stems are a solid rose-magenta color from ground to leaf instead of transitioning to white like Peppermint Swiss Chard.
More seed, better price, more vibrant colors equal a win!
How to Grow Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard Microgreens
We will show you how we grow Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard and all chards and beets, their close relatives.
Let's Start with the Seeds
Swiss Chard and beets have seeds that look like crowns. You can see the shape and the amount of seed we use when planting in the Home Microgreens trays. For example, below are 6.5-grams of Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard seeds.
The size of Swiss Chard seeds varies by cultivar. Magenta Sunset is in the middle range. You can see other Swiss Chard seed size examples in the photos here.
We also did a podcast on growing Swiss Chard and other seeds like them.
The Microgreens Podcast
How to Sow Swiss Chard Seeds
It is best to use soil (potting mix) when sowing Swiss Chard and any beet varieties.
I've also planted peas with the method explained below, as it keeps the seeds at an even moisture level.
However, we use the method for Swiss Chard seeds because it removes the seed husk from the young seedling 99+% of the time.
If you've ever bitten into a Swiss Chard or beet husk, you know why this is essential.
Swiss Chard husks are hard!
The Bury Method of Planting Microgreens
The bury method covers the seeds with a layer of potting mix. The advantages of this method are to keep larger or tougher shelled seeds at even moisture levels.
Doesn't allow the seeds to dry out.
Large seeds like peas or those in a dry husk; Like chard, beets, and cilantro, tend to dry out because they absorb water from the soil media.
Because of their size, they can allow air around them to circulate (poor soil to seed contact), removing moisture. Burying the seeds stops this effect.
The soil also imparts a lot of drag on the seed husk as the seedling emerges from the soil. In effect, pulling the husk off the cotyledons.
Planting Magenta Sunrise Swiss Chard Seeds
Don't fill the tray to the top with soil when using the burying method. Instead, leave the soil level a good 1/4- to 3/8-inch below the top of the planting tray.
The Home Microgreens Tray (above) has a lip 3/16-inch down from the top. Keep the soil level in the tray lower, so the top of the seeds are level with this lip when you plant Swiss Chard and beet seeds.
Before spreading the seeds, tamp the surface of the soil level and pre-wet the surface. No need to wet the whole soil profile.
The seeds don't need water that deep. So a saturated soil profile can only cause problems at this stage.
Spread the seeds evenly as possible and mist the seeds to wet the husk.
We used 6.5-grams, a very round tablespoon worth, of Magenta Sunrise Swiss Chard seeds.
The Burying Part of the Method
Once the seeds have been misted, it's time to bury them.
We have recommended in all of our articles and videos, including this instructional article, using some sort of container under the planting tray to catch extra soil.
You will not spill a speck of soil if you use a container - soil is not messy with this one simple precaution.
Sprinkle soil on top of the seeds to the top of the planting tray. Gently compress the soil. Potting mix will not compact too densely; the purpose is to keep it from moving out of the tray.
Next, mist the soil surface and wet the soil on top of the seeds. Not to the point where water drips out the bottom. We only want to wet the soil we placed on top of the seeds.
Place the Tray into Blackout
Even though we covered the seeds, the tray should go into a weighted blackout period.
The cover will retain soil moisture. The weight will not only force better root development, but it will also help remove the seed husks as the plants force themselves upward.
If you have more than one tray, it's perfectly fine to stack them. Most microgreens can take the weight.
As you see, we have 2-1/2 pounds on these trays, but we have put up to 5-pounds on them. The microgreens can handle the weight, and so can the trays.
The tea towel we place over the trays is not shown completing the blackout.
The tray on the left has a dark coroplast over the seeds. We are experimenting with these tighter fitting covers. Later in the article, you'll see why we like the opaque lids.
Not 48-hours, But 168-hours in Blackout
That's right, we kept the Magenta Sunrise Swiss Chard in blackout for 7-days.
We did check them on day 5. After that, they started to push their way through the soil.
After 7-days, you can see more growth and why we like to use the opaque lids as covers. You can see the microgreens through the lid, and if they aren't ready, you can leave them alone and not disturb the fragile seedlings.
In the photos above (click any image to expand it for better viewing), the Magenta Sunrise Swiss Chard microgreens are 7-days old.
Notice how you can see the microgreens through the opaque lid.
When your Swiss Chard microgreens reach this growth stage, they are ready to be placed under light.
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Time for Water
Now is the time to water.
We do not want to water microgreens over the top. Instead, the planting tray (the soil) is placed in a secondary solid tray. We like the Home Microgreens tray system because of the tight-fitting watering tray.
Add 1/4- to 3/8-inches of water into the watering tray. Tap water works.
Slowly lower the planting tray into the watering tray. It will float; that is fine.
As the planting tray settles into the water, it will force water up into the soil media. The best part about the tight watering/planting tray combo is that it's almost impossible to overwater this way.
Water will be forced out the top of the watering tray if it can't take anymore.
Above is an example of us using a clear tray so you can see the water. We add about 1/4-inch of water to the tray.
The tray with the soil shown in the back will be placed into the watering tray, and the water will be forced and wicked up into the planting tray.
Watering Is Very Important with Swiss Chard
It is very easy to overwater Swiss Chard microgreens.
Keep Swiss Chard too wet, and it will die of the damping-off disease. The worst part about the damping-off disease is that the plants look like they need water, even though it's too much water that has killed the plants.
For this reason, the Home Microgreens trays are excellent for Swiss Chard and beet microgreens.
How Do You Know When to Water Swiss Chard Microgreens?
When you take the tray out of the blackout, remember how the tray feels in your hands. At this point, the tray needs water.
So when it feels this light again, it's time to water.
We know the beautiful colors of Swiss Chard and Bull's Blood Beets are temping. But after a few grows, you will be better prepared for the challenges of chard and beets.
Patience wins the game.
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Putting the Swiss Chard Under Lights
We've found that intense light is better for Swiss Chard. It's not that the plants won't grow under indirect or low intensely light. Instead, they grow very leggy, and stems tend to grow curled.
We learned this in the spring when our garden sets were growing. The trays that received less light were taller but grew crooked and tangled with each other.
Those under stronger light grew shorter but much straighter.
We placed the Swiss Chard microgreens under Barrina 24-watt grow lights. The shelf had two light bars, and the microgreens are kept about 5- to 6-inches below the lights.
We don't have a good photo of the lights, but you can see them under the tray. Even though the Barrina lights are white or natural to the eye, photographs taken under them are purplish. They grow microgreens great, but not photos.
Here are the Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard microgreens after one day under the light. That would be eight days after planting.
A photo from the side is shown below.
Growing Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard
The hard work is over, and caring for the Swiss Chard microgreens is easy as long as they are not over-watered.
We check them each day by lifting the tray, judging the weight, and looking at the canopy of the plants to be sure they aren't drooping.
The Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard microgreens shown below are 16-days old and ready for harvest.
You can grow them much longer if you want.
Swiss Chard Microgreen Nutrition
Swiss Chard microgreens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The compounds in them are reported to have several health benefits.
Vitamins include A, C, E, and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc. Chard also contains lutein and betalain.
Lutein is reported to help protect your eyes and skin from macular degeneration and also has inflammatory properties.
Betulin has been shown to help the detoxification processes.
Both lutein and betulin are not heat-stable, so Swiss Chard microgreens are an excellent way to include these antioxidants into your diet.
Swiss Chard Microgreen Flavor
Swiss Chard microgreens have an earthy flavor and do not contain bitter compounds like Swiss Chard from the garden.
The microgreens are much sweeter than the full leaf and taste like a mixture of beet greens and spinach.
Swiss Chard microgreens also, as you can see from the photos of the Magenta Sunset herein, and the Ruby Red, Fantasia, and Golden Sunrise in this article add a lot of color to your dishes.
Buying Swiss Chard Microgreen Seeds
The Home Microgreens Store has a selection of Swiss Chard Microgreens in various sizes. Click the photos below to expand the image for better viewing and the buttons to visit the product pages.
These Swiss chard seeds will also grow in the garden! We use them.
Free Quick Microgreen Guide
Follow the recommendations in this guide and you'll be eating microgreens in as few as 7-days!
Growing Microgreens is easy if you follow the simple steps in this colorful guide.