How to grow & care for silverbeet
Silverbeet is also commonly referred to as Swiss chard, chard or rainbow chard. The rainbow variety has brightly coloured yellow, white, pink and red stems, which even keep their colour when cooked! As a “cut-and-come-again” leafy green vegetable, you can harvest just the leaves you need and leave the rest of the plant to keep growing.
Top 4 Steps to Growing Silverbeet
- Choose a full sun or part shade position in your garden or grow in pots.
- Improve the soil before planting by adding compost and organic fertiliser.
- Protect silverbeet seedlings from pests like snails and slugs.
- Harvest leaf by leaf as you need them.
Silverbeet can be grown from seeds or seedlings, in a full sun to part shade spot. Silverbeet is best grown in a soil enriched with Scotts Performance Natural Soil Improver and Scotts Performance Naturals All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser - dig these through the top 10-20cm of soil before planting.
In the warm regions silverbeet can be grown year round, while in cold areas it’s best from from early spring to autumn.
You can plant and grow silverbeet at any time of the year, except winter if you have extreme frosts!
Planting in ground
Plant silverbeet seedlings 20-30cm apart and water them in well. Protect small seedlings from slugs and snails using Defender Snail & Slug Pellets. Lightly mulch the soil around plants after planting with organic sugar cane to retain moisture.
Growing from seeds
- Direct sow silverbeet seeds into your prepared garden beds or Scotts Performance Naturals Organic-Based Potting Mix if growing in pots.
- Sow seeds into 2cm deep furrows and cover lightly with soil. Don’t worry if the seeds germinate too closely together - they can be thinned to allow 20-30cm between plants as they grow.
- Keep the soil moist while the silverbeet seeds germinate which will take 10-14 days.
- Mulch around seedlings when they are 5-10cm tall to retain moisture and protect young seedlings from slugs and snails with Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.
Planting in pots
Silverbeet can be grown in medium to large pots that are 30-40cm deep. Fill the pot with Scotts Performance Naturals Organic-Based Potting Mix and sow seeds or seedlings at the recommended spacings as per the label. Protect young seedlings as they sprout from slugs and snails with Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.
You can begin harvesting silverbeet leaf by leaf about 8-12 weeks after planting - harvest leaves by cutting or pulling them off just above soil level - take care not to pull up the whole plant!
Young tender leaves that are 10-15cm long are delicious raw in salads, while larger leaves are perfect for cooking. Take care not to harvest too many leaves from any one plant, taking just a few from each plant will extend your harvest period.
Pests & Diseases
Slugs and snails will cause significant damage to young silverbeet seedlings but they can also be problematic on larger plants too. Protect your silverbeet crop by setting beer traps (saucers filled with beer) or use Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.
To protect your silverbeet crops from possums or other animals use wildlife friendly white netting. Create tunnels or frames over your crops so that the netting can be pulled tight which will help prevent animals becoming tangled in it.