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How to Grow Colorful Swiss Chard Microgreens Without Nasty Seed Husks

There are several very colorful varieties of Swiss chard microgreens. This article shows you how to grow (and not grow) Ruby Red, Golden Sunrise, and Fantasia Orange Swiss chard microgreens.

Like beets, Swiss chard microgreens often retain the hard, bark-like seed husk on the leaves as they grow.

We will explain our growing method, which removes 99% of these nasty husks.

growing beet microgreen seeds
A nasty seed hull or husk.

Swiss chard microgreens aren’t the easiest to grow, but follow our steps and overcome one of the most common mistakes. You’ll soon be enjoying these tasty microgreens.

golden sunrise yellow swiss chard microgreens
ruby red swiss chard microgreens

Swiss Chard Microgreens

You may have noticed that we only showed you two of the three Swiss chard microgreens mentioned in the introduction.

Above is Golden Sunrise and Ruby Red Swiss chard. Click any image in this article to expand it for better viewing. But where is the Fantasia Orange chard?

We had some problems with it — No problem with the variety, or the seed, or the planting method.

Rather, it was a problem with watering, lack of care, and laziness.

But more about that when we discuss caring for Swiss chard microgreens.

home microgreens sells seeds

FREE Home Microgreens Grow course that teaches you the basics of growing microgreens in your home! There are 12 video lessons (over 120 minutes), downloads, and more written information and tips!

Interested in Growing Swiss Chard Microgreens?

First, click either of the images below, and you’ll open a new window to the Swiss chard microgreen seed product page in the Home Microgreens Store. Enter Swiss chard into the search box to see the different varieties.

Ruby red swiss chard microgreens harvested
Ruby Red Swiss Chard
golden sunrise swiss chard microgreens harvested
Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard

Listen to an Audio Version of the Article

We don’t just read the article word for word in the audio version; it’s a stand on its own piece of content that includes more details on the topic. These can include more tips, opinions, details, data, and information on this and related topics. 

The Microgreens Podcast Episode 012

How Much Swiss Chard Microgreen Seed to Use

If you’ve read our articles on seed density, you know that seeding density comes down to the number of plants per square inch of planting surface based on the finished size of the microgreen.

We believe home microgreen growers need to pay more attention to that rule than commercial growers. Since home growers are more concerned with growing nutritious microgreens than those that sell them. 

This is a little more challenging because Swiss chard seeds often produce more than one plant, like beets.  They also show delayed germination.

late germinating swiss chard seeds

So our initial go-around was more or less a guess based on our previous results with Bull’s Blood Beet microgreens.

Different Size Swiss Chard Seed

Below are the Swiss Chard microgreen seeds of the three varieties we planted. In each tablespoon is 6 grams of seed. Click on the photo to expand the size for better viewing.

Ruby red swiss chard seed
Ruby Red Swiss Chard Seed – 6 grams.
Orange swiss chard seed
Fantasia Orange Swiss Chard Seed – 6 grams.
golden sunrise yellow swiss chard seed
Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard Seed – 6 grams.

As you can see below, Swiss chard seeds aren’t uniform in size. 

Not only amongst varieties, but even the same seed lot has variation. 

The orange chard has the largest seeds, followed by the red chard, and the yellow variety has much smaller seeds. 

In our experience, the smaller the seed, the less mass of that seed you need to produce a full tray of microgreens.  Let’s see how that plays out as these seeds grow into microgreens.

Ultimately, we recommend using 6.2 grams of Ruby Red or Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard for our Home Microgreens Tray.

The Steps to Planting Swiss Chard Microgreen Seeds

Below are Home Microgreens Trays planted with the above seeds.

ruby red swiss chard
Ruby Red Swiss Chard Seeds Planted.
Fantasia orange Swiss Chard Seeds planted
Fantasia Orange Swiss Chard poking through the soil on day 5.
yellow swiss chard seeds
Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard seeds planted.

We did not soak the seeds.

There was no issue with germination without soaking the seeds using the method below.

Notice that the tray’s soil level is not as high as we usually plant microgreen seeds. Instead, the soil level is down to the first ledge on the Home Microgreens Tray ( a great feature our trays have). 

This is because we are going to cover these seeds with soil. Not to improve germination but to remove the seed husks as the plant forces its way through the soil.

dry soil placed over the top of bull's blood beet microgreen seeds

Here’s how we plant Swiss chard seeds. We fill the tray with soil to the second ledge and mist it with water to wet that soil surface.

Only wet the surface; we don’t want to soak all of the soil profile. If the soil is too wet, it can lead to disease issues.

Spread the microgreen seeds as evenly as possible.

Cover the seeds with more soil right to the top of the tray.

Wet the soil covering the seeds more than the first wetting; we want the soil moist down to the seeds.

Blackout Period

The trays are placed into a blackout.

For Swiss chard microgreens, we cover the soil surface with another tray, the tray lid, or something else that makes contact with the soil. 

A weight is placed on top to push the lid onto the soil surface. Two to five pounds of weight is good.

Then the tray and weight are covered with a tea towel or some other fabric to exclude light. 

soil for microgreens test weighted trays
Two-and-a-half-pound weights were added to the top of the tray covers. A towel is placed over the trays to exclude light.

The trays are left like this for five days to let the Swiss chard seeds germinate and start to push up through the soil. Five days is a guideline; it may vary a day or two depending on the temperature, humidity levels, how deep the seeds are buried, and other factors.

But check on them around day 5. Most likely, they will look like the ones below.

ruby red swiss chard seeds
Ruby Red Swiss Chard plants starting to poke through the soil on day 5.
orange swiss chard seeds
Fantasia Orange Swiss Chard plants starting to poke through the soil on day 5.
yellow swiss chard seeds
Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard poking through the soil on day 5.

However, these young microgreens are not ready to be removed from the blackout. 

Mist them with water if the soil is light brown and appears dry. 

Then carefully place the covers back on the trays and leave them for two more days.

These microgreens remained in the blackout for a total of 7 days.

Below is a photo of the Swiss chard microgreens seven days after planting. 

swiss chard microgreens coming out of the blackout
Left to right – Ruby Red, Fantasia Orange, Sunrise Yellow Swiss chard microgreens.

Notice the middle tray, the Fantasia Orange Swiss chard microgreens; as expected, plant density is lower than the other, as predicted by the seed size. 

Surprisingly, the Ruby Red has enough seeding density even though the seeds are slightly smaller than the Fantasia. This is probably due to multiple plant germination from one seed.

Also, if you’ve grown Rainbow Chard (a mixture of seeds, not a variety) in the garden, you know that the red chard is more vigorous than the orange and yellow. Below is a bunch I grew this year.

rainbow swiss chard

Putting the Swiss Chard Microgreens Under Lights

At this point, place the Swiss chard microgreens in a watering tray and give it a drink from below.

If you’re just beginning to grow microgreens and want to know more about these terms and actions, see the video on the Home Microgreens Home page.

We found that almost any light will work for Swiss chard microgreens. No fancy grow light; in fact, the Swiss chard microgreens shown in this article were grown under two 4,000K cheap shop lights bought years ago at a box store.

Lights we used to grow Swiss chard microgreens (not chard under them in the photo). We recommend lights with more Daylight color now and NO chains. They are a PITA. Instead, use something under the trays to lift toward the light.

We want to show that it doesn’t take special lights to grow microgreens. Although, generally, the better the light, the better the microgreens.

Here are the inexpensive lights we recommend. They cost less than $8 each.

The Biggest Problem With Swiss Chard Microgreens (and Beets)!

Over-watering.

Swiss chard and beets are very susceptible to damping-off disease (I guess).

At least, that’s what it looks like. The stems of the microgreens get soft at the soil surface and collapse.

damping off disease in swiss chard
Overwatered these Fantasia Orange Swiss chard microgreens, and they succumbed to damping-off disease.

The takeaway here is to be careful when you water. The cause of the above issue is that I watered all three trays using a larger watering tray and added too much.

Instead, I should’ve dumped out any remaining water after 15- or 20 minutes.

Ten days in, that was the end of the Fantasia Orange Swiss chard microgreens. It’s okay, though. The seeding density is too low, and they need to be re-tested. 

Skip to the Harvest

Instead of showing you daily progressions, we’ll skip ahead to the last day we took photos.

However, these microgreens could still be grown much longer. They only just reached harvest height. 

The Swiss chard microgreens below are 14 days old, so from seed to harvest in 14 days. We expect they will continue growing fine for up to 30 days.

Maybe we will try that with the re-planting of the Fantasia Orange Swiss chard. Below are photos of the Ruby Red Swiss Chard and Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard 14 days after planting.

ruby red swiss chard microgreens
golden sunrise yellow swiss chard microgreens

Are You Ready to Grow Swiss Chard Microgreens? Do These Things

Swiss chard microgreens aren’t difficult to grow if you cover the seed with soil to remove the tough, nasty seed husks.

Be patient as they take time to emerge from the soil and grow large enough to be placed under the lights.

Try not to overwater them. Small amounts of water more often are better than flooding the watering tray.

Do those three simple things, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful Swiss chard microgreens.

What Do Swiss Chard Microgreens Taste Like?

Besides their stunning colors, Swiss chard microgreens have an interesting flavor.

It’s a mild earthy flavor, somewhere between that of beets and spinach. Maybe a bit sweeter than beets. 

They add another layer of flavor to salads. We also use them on tomatoes that have been drizzled with balsamic vinegar and with fresh mozzarella cheese. 

Swiss Chard Microgreen Nutrition

We are not nutritionists, but Swiss chard microgreens have been reported to have high levels of antioxidants.

Such as lutein, reported to help protect your eyes and skin from macular degeneration and also has inflammatory properties. 

Also, chard microgreens are reported to lower blood pressure and help with digestion.

Swiss chard microgreens contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Want to Give Swiss Chard Microgreens a Try?

Click either of the photos of harvested Swiss chard microgreens below to buy seed from the Home Microgreens Store.

We will even be mixing these Swiss chard microgreens into a mix so you can grow Rainbow Swiss Chard Microgreens at home!

Ruby red swiss chard microgreens harvested
Ruby Red Swiss Chard
golden sunrise swiss chard microgreens harvested
Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard
magenta sunset purple swiss chard microgreens
Magenta Sunset Swiss Chard

Author

  • Todd

    Todd is the founder of Home Microgreens & the Home Microgreens store. He also writes for several other websites, including MyViewFromTheWoods.com. Todd worked at a large farm market, garden & nursery center for 20 years. Somehow he snuck off to become a geologist and professor before coming back to his senses to write & lecture about microgreens and gardening. When not at the computer, he can be found in the garden, trout stream, or mountain trail with his new Springer Spaniel Caden.

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