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Swiss chard - has it bolted?


 
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eris
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 08 Jul 2009
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject: Swiss chard - has it bolted? Reply with quote

Hi - This is my first time growing swiss chard and this is how it looks (see pic.), with leaves growing off a central stem. It looks nothing like the picture on the pack, where it grows low and has red stems and veins. The variety is Galaxy from Gro-sure, supposedly with 'guaranteed results.' Has it bolted and if it has, can anyone explain why?

Also it has been invaded by some bug which has left two or three little maggots on many leaves, which they've eaten in part. (See other pic.)



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Swiss chard plants
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Swiss chard damage by parasite.jpg
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This shows the sort of damage the bug is causing.
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it has bolted. That usually happens in the second year, and you end up with a huge thick stem, about 2" across. I can't see any signs of flowering from the pictures. I think that the very close planting has caused them to grow tall, and not wide. Personally, I'd harvest every second plant, then do so again in a month, and leave the rest for winter greens.

Regarding the colour, you just got a duff packet of seed. I assume you were trying to grow "Bright Lights", but you have green "Perpetual Spinach" instead. Don't worry! They mightn't be as pretty, but they will taste exactly the same.

I always grow mine about 12 to 18" apart, as they get large, and can provide greens for 18 months. I just continually pick the outer leaves, and pull them up when they start to bolt the next year. Then I make minestrone with the leavings...

Oh, and the bug damage, I'm not sure which kind of caterpillar it is, but just cut off the affected leaves and chuck em in the compost. More will grow to replace them.
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eris
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, Tippben. I didn't realise that it would last into a second year, nor that the plants have such a spread. I seem to have an inherent reluctance to thin.
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MichaelF
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eris
Everything Tippben said is correct but SC can bolt early if they're subjected to dry weather iin early life. My seedlings bolted prematurely this year & last both during dry springs. SC do like constant rain. You'll know if it's bolted if it produces a seed head. If it has you'll get some, inferior leaves from it, but don't leave it into the next year it'll just be wood.
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