Swiss chard is a tasty and nutritious green. Delicious when steamed and then drizzled with olive oil and garlic. I have grown this plant hydroponically, and the plants can get huge – as large as 3 feet in diameter!
Feb 3, 2016 = Day 0. Plants started from seed (Baker Creek). Seeds sowed in 1.5-inch rockwool cube in 2-inch net-pot. Moistened with dilute fertilizer solution: 1.2 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid GROW 7-9-5, 0.8 mL pH Down per gallon of tap water. N-P-K (in ppm): 22-12-13. pH = 6.0.
Feb 9 = Day 6. Plants germinated, placed directly under a fluorescent light (2 ft. T8 bulb, 17W, 6500k) for 14-16 hours per day.
Feb 20 = Day 17. Installed plant into 1-gallon plastic container. Hydroponic solution composed of 1 gal tap water, 6 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid GROW 7-9-5. N-P-K (in ppm): 111-62-66. pH = 6.0. No pH adjustment required.
Feb 24 = Day 21. Moved plant to indoor grow room. Plant receives 9 hours LED grow light plus 3 hours sunlight per day.
Mar 1 = Day 27. Based on information obtained in this post and this post, it seems that the pH of the Liquid GROW-based hydroponic solution tends to drop below 4.0 by the end of the growing period, which is not ideal for nutrient uptake. Therefore, I have switched to a MasterBlend-based solution. N-P-K (in ppm): 103-41-168. pH = 6.0.
Mar 22 = Day 48. Plant is getting large and having trouble standing upright. Placed the 1-gallon container inside a 5-gallon bucket, to hold the leaves upright.
Mar 27 = Day 53. Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Mar 31 = Day 57. Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Apr 5 = Day 62. Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Apr 9 = Day 66. Added 2 cups (0.125 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Apr 13 = Day 70. Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Apr 16 = Day 73. Added 6 cups (0.375 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.
Apr 20 = Day 77. Harvested all leaves. The longest leaves were 24 inches long! Total fluid usage = 2.25 gallons.
Prepared the Swiss chard by cutting the stems into 3-inch long pieces and steaming for 5 minutes. The chopped leaves were then added to steamer for an 3 additional minutes. Cooked chard was coated with a dressing of olive oil, freshly minced garlic, and black pepper.