Swiss Chard – Flamingo Pink

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!

swiss-chard-flamingo-pink-dsc02548Feb 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, 0.8 mL pH Down per gallon of tap water.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 22, P 29, K 16, Ca 6, Mg 1.6, S 0.2, Fe 0.3, Mn 0.2, B 0.1, Zn 0.2, Cu 0.2, Mo 0.003, Ni 0.0003, Co 0.005.  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.

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Feb 11 = Day 8

Feb 20 = Day 17.  Installed plant into 1-gallon plastic container (Orgain).  Hydroponic solution composed of 1 gal tap water, 6 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 111, P 143, K 79, Ca 32, Mg 8, S 0.8, Fe 1.6, Mn 0.8, B 0.3, Zn 0.8, Cu 0.8, Mo 0.01, Ni 0.002, Co 0.024.  pH = 6.0.  No pH adjustment required.

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Feb 20 = Day 17

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.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 103, P 95, K 202, Ca 100, Mg 29, S 34, Fe 2.1, Mn 1.1, B 1.1, Zn 0.3, Cu 0.3, Mo 0.05, Si 4.  pH = 6.0.

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Mar 9 = Day 35
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Mar 19 = Day 45

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.

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Apr 7 = Day 64

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.

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Apr 20 = Day 77

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.

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Delicious steamed Swiss chard
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