Our favorite and most successful crop was by far the chard. We grew three types, a red, green and golden (bright lites) chard.

Bright Lites Chard

Chard is a wonderful crop. It requires little room and keeps producing for a very long time. I used a ten inch between row separation, and thinned the plants to about every five inches in each row.

Red Chard

I think the density was pretty good, though it should be possible to close it up a bit if only chard is planted in the raised bed. I suspect rows of six inches thinned to six inches would provide a higher density and still promote good growth. The challenges we faced were with the adjacent Rutabaga and Horseradish. Both have leaves that spread considerably and cover the chard. The best solution is to have a chard only raised bed.

Tomato, Basil, Chard
Decision – invest in the best chard seed available and plant a row of each type – perhaps two rows of the bright lites in a raised bed. Chard is not without its issues. Like some of the other large leaved plants such as Rutabaga, the Chard is vulnerable to snails and slugs. Both can be controlled organically by simply visiting early in the morning and removing the pests by hand. Failure to remove can result in an infestation and some pretty unattractive leaves.

Speaking of Rutabaga – this was a complete failure. The plants grew fast and with lovely foliage, but the roots simply never developed. Again, perhaps a situation where the type of fertilizer accentuated the leaf growth to the detriment of the tuber development. By the time I started harvesting, the tubers were tough and some even rotten. A great disappointment.

Clearly the most problematic crop is the horseradish. I would love to get it out of the raised bed but the root is probably ill suited to most of the ground in the area of the garden – which is wet. I love fresh horseradish but don’t like the impact it has on the other crops.