Chard & Winter

digitS'

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Tell me about over-wintering chard, please. Can it survive a zone 5 winter?

And if it survives, what then --

will it simply bolt to seed?

Steve
 

Zeedman

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It won't survive winters here, even heavily mulched - I've tried twice. Too bad, because I really want to save my own seed. Sometimes a few seeds over-winter to sprout the following year though. I think I'd have to lift & over-winter the roots to get seed, which given the length of our winters here (and probably yours) is unlikely to succeed. If it survives the winter, it should bolt to seed the following year.

Chard does show a lot of frost tolerance, so it could probably be over-wintered in a slightly warmer climate. My chard is re-sprouting this week after getting down into the teens F. for a couple nights. The next week will be 60's during the day, so I should get a picking of baby chard before the deep freeze arrives.

EDIT: There might be one hope. If the chard were grown next to the house foundation & heavily mulched, the residual heat from the wall might be just enough to keep it alive. If you have a drier vent on the South side of the house, even better. A friend of mine here once had canna lilies in that location; they should have died in this climate, but a few survived just below the drier vent each year. I'll have to try planting some on my South wall next year.
 
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flowerbug

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i've had some survive here completely unmulched and exposed in the middle of the strawberry patch i was starting at the time. i planted a line of the mixed colors but only a few of the red ones survived. our winters can get down to -10F - -20F ish.

me, if it were important, i'd put some in deep pots and move it into a more protected place for the winter (where it gets cold but not too far below freezing) so they would remain dormant enough.

i don't really know if they would grow well otherwise, but in a regular greenhouse in the winter it just seems like that is wrong to me. i think of them as cooler weather happy crops, but perhaps i'm also completely wrong and they'll do really well in a greenhouse all winter... hmm... :)

sorry, not much help there i guess. haha... :)
 

ducks4you

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Cool weather vegetables, like chard, like spinach (which it is close to,) do VERY WELL growing inside of your house. I tried covering Brussels Sprouts with straw last year. KILLED IT ALL!!
Unless you have a double cover setup, zone 5 will kill off your chard. We did have in 2012 No real winter, and the spinach that I never cleaned up went dorment THEN was growing and I was harvesting it in March.
That was a fluke.
 

thejenx

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I've have over wintered chard both outside and in a unheated greenhouse. Outside maybe 1 in 4 plants survived, but all survived in the greenhouse. Also there I was able to picking a few leaves in winter, but much better early in spring when it was too early for other greens! Even outside it's possible to get at least one picking before it bolts to seed. A big plant can be stopped bolting temporarily by cutting out the seed stem.
 

ducks4you

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@thejenx , Our winters are a lot harsher than yours. You live on the west coast of a continent and those places (like California), are always milder than the east continental coasts or the interiors.
We can get blustery winds with snow (or no snow) that dry out and kill most everything that isn't winter hardy.
Our winter winds affect our plants so much that I often look for zone 4 or even zone 3 plants to grow here.
 

digitS'

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I have fun with weather (and climate). It's difficult for me to understand a life with little attention to what is happening outdoors ;).

It's my understanding that this area is in the "Continental" classification - so, it is much like the central part of North America.

However, I am usually most interested in the outdoors during the growing season. Nuanced. Not just broad strokes of the brush and paint the same color as Devils Lake, North Dakota! Average annual temperatures and rainfall? What? We don't have winters like North Dakota (... although we have the same miserable amount of sunshine ...). And, just a few miles to the south, there is the Interior West's Mediterranean Climate.

So, for summertime, our weather is more Mediterranean (& winters more like South Dakota ;)).

Looking at all the wonderful climate information Wikipedia puts online: In Europe, probably right up against the Alps in northern Italy would be similar. Ooorrr, the mountains of northern Spain.

I'm not usually too concerned about winter hardiness. It's been a long time since I had any sort of orchard. I've obviously had the wrong kind of peach trees - they suffer. Here's an ornamental example: I know of only one neighbor (some distance away) with crepe myrtles. They obviously like them, there are more than one growing in a small, tightly fenced backyard. I could hardly believe what they were when they finally appeared above that tall fence. A couple winters later and it was apparent from the damaged things that they had nearly died. Happily for the owners and passersby, they often bloom nicely during the summer in that little backyard. Man. In the winter, they must open the door to the house to keep that backyard warm enough for them!

Chard ;). I have some Italian kale with the Scotch kale to see how it does this winter. Leaving some collard plants last year was almost an accident but the warmest winter I can remember must have been a godsend for those plants! My Portuguese kale already looks like they are on their way out :(.

Steve
 

Gardening with Rabbits

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Tell me about over-wintering chard, please. Can it survive a zone 5 winter?

And if it survives, what then --

will it simply bolt to seed?

Steve
Fordhook Giant will come back the next year. I have planted other chard next to the Fordhook Giant and none of the other made it. It will start growing new leaves and I have been able to get quit a bit off before bolting, unless where we have kind of a heatwave really early and then it goes back to cool, the heat will be too much. I have some right now that I expect to see next spring. I will try to take pictures of it.
 

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