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Swiss Chard, Fordhook Giant

Short Description

HEIRLOOM. Dark green, thick, tender leaves. Heavy yield even in hot weather.

Full Description

This is the classic Burpee-bred chard, with dark green, thick, tender leaves and heavy yields even in hot weather. Easy to grow; eat it like spinach or beet greens. Pick from late spring till winter. 100 seeds sows 20' of row. Grows best in full sun, tolerates partial shade.
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Order: 1 Pkt. (350 seeds)
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

60 days

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

8 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

12-16 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Direct Sow

Planting Time The recommended time of the year in which this product should be planted.

Spring, Summer

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  • Swiss Chard

    Swiss Chard
    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Apr-18 - Last Date: Jul-11

How to Sow

  • Sow in average soil in full sun spring as soon as ground can be worked.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Sow about 6 inches apart and cover with ½ inch fine soil.
  • Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
  • Thin stand to about 12 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches tall.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
  • Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • If flower stalk appears, remove it to prolong the harvest.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • Begin harvesting leaves when they reach 5-6 inches or are large enough to use.
  • Break off the outer leaves at their base, taking care not to damage the inner leaves.
  • Plants that are harvested regularly will continue to produce new growth from the center of the plant.
  • Both the leaves and stalks are edible raw, steamed, and sautéed, but avoid the lower 2-3 inches of the stalk as it may be fibrous and tough.
  • Swiss chard may be blanched and frozen. Stems may be pickled.
Days To Maturity
60 days
Full Sun
8 inches
12-16 inches
Sow Method
Direct Sow
Planting Time
Spring, Summer
Sow Time
2-4 weeks BLF
12 inches
Life Cycle
Swiss Chard, Fordhook Giant is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 10.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Reliable I decided to plant Swiss Chard due to the health benefits over other leafy greens that I've read. I've never really been known to like my leafy greens aside from romaine. I planted several of the Fordhook Giants in my garden. I started harvesting leaves when the plants reached about 6" tall taking a few from each plant continuously throughout the season. They really liven up a salad! However, as the plants got older, I didn't like the sour/bitter taste of the mature leaves. I've discontinued planting them in my garden except for occasionally growing some for my coworkers. Although I don't particularly care for the taste of the mature plants, the plants themselves are very tolerant to heat and chewing bugs. When my romaine was nearly chewed to the ground, the chard was standing tall and producing. Planting in early February, these plants withstood flooding rains, over 100 degree days and didn't bolt until early August. Every seed I planted germinated. VERY reliable plant.
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never fail chard I've planted this chard for years and never had a failure. One year the area was flooded and I still had a crop. Last year the deer found a way into the garden and ate the entire row to the ground. A few weeks later, it came back up and I had a good crop with even enough to freeze. May not be pretty like the colorful ones, but sure is dependable.
Date published: 2016-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nonstop poducer! This stuff doesn't give up. No matter what the weather - even with a little snow - it still keeps growing, and then it comes back the next year. Crazy. Have tried others, but they just can't compare.
Date published: 2012-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GreatChard Great chard. Planted two years ago in raise beds in my "Salad garden" Have grown big, but still tender and never bitter. I use it in cooking just like I would spinach. I just go out and cut back as many leaves as I need. It has survived two frost, but going to replant this year so it doesn't exhaust soil. His chard grow giant and is very easy to grow and use. Would definitely buy again.
Date published: 2012-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from pretty nice planted at the end of augest their still small (6 inches) i'm not to worried, as i have a shady garden and the soil isn't so great as this is my first year. really nice i like it cant wait to plant next year
Date published: 2011-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Summer Green I grew this based on the comments from the gardener in Houston. I was looking for a summer green that could withstand the Georgia summer heat and I found it. The taste is between collards and spinach (the first Swiss Chard I ever tasted came from my garden.) It is very slow growing, but once it takes off, it's fine. I am a new gardener. The hardest thing about growing this plant was not pulling it up. I've recommended it to my sister and now she is growing it in her backyard garden.
Date published: 2011-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Traditional is best This old stand-by chard is more vigorous than the newer varieties with colored stalks. The flavor is also stronger. It is my favorite Swiss Chard. Here in New Jersey, we eat it from May to December.
Date published: 2009-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a favorite This swiss chard has the old-fashioned flavor we prefer over that of the colored swiss chards. It's great for Italian cooking and stir frying. It grows great here in Houston in the winter and spring and will even last into the beginning of summer. It starts out very slow growing but then just keeps on producing and producing.
Date published: 2008-10-24
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