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Growing Silverbeet, also Swiss Chard or Mangold

(Beta vulgaris var. cicla)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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(Best months for planting Silverbeet in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)


  • Easy to grow.
  • Harvest in 50-85 days
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 30°C.
  • Space plants: 15-30cm

Edible dark green glossy leaves with wide white or cream stalks produced over a long period. Both leaves and stalks are eaten. This is a cut and come again plant, providing leaves for some months before going to flower. Can re-sprout from around the base if cut off when it starts to flower.

Reasonably frost and heat tolerant. Grows well in most soils. For prolific growth apply compost, or well-rotted manure. Resistant to most plant diseases.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Silverbeet

Wash thoroughly and inspect the back of the leaves for insects.
Chop and put in a saucepan with very little water ( or just what is on the leaves)
Cover and cook over a low to medium heat until the leaves collapse.
A small amount of nutmeg enhances the flavour.

Your comments and tips

28 Jan 10 Ahi (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I'm a novice gardener just trying out planting silverbeet. I used compost in the soil and they grew really we'll for about 2 months. Now, in Jan, with very hot weather, the silverbeet are somewhat reluctant to grow. I have been harvesting almost daily, about 5-6 leaves per day from the plants. Is this bad? Also, some of the seedlings aren't taking off very well. Any ideas? Thanks.
02 Feb 10 Mike (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
first -- mangold is NOT the same as silverbeet, it is a kind of large beetroot grown for animal feed. Silverbeet's other common name is Swiss chard, often heard used in North America and UK. Second -- it is worth noting that small quantities of agricultural salt are applied when growing Beta vulgaris crops for fodder on farms, and also that silverbeet grows very well close to the sea, often as a garden escape, eg there is lots of it in various bays around Banks peninsula. This may suggest that in inland places it would benefit from a tiny feed of salt water -- but be careful not to overdo it. Thirdly, it is worth knowing that the tops of beetroot are very similar to silverbeet. Don't waste them! Of course the older and yellowing leaves are no good but bright green vigorous ones are excellent. I have been using leaves off Yates Baby Beets and I think if anything they are even better than silver beet.
04 Feb 10 Courtney Richardson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Ahi- Watering every evening will help if they have a dry spell they tend to go to seed. Aliquid feed eg seaweed and fish should help their growth. My silverbeet have slowed down due to heat. When removing leaves take the whole leaf stem aswell :)
06 Jun 10 louise (New Zealand - temperate climate)
hi, im still learning how to grow and develop my vege garden this season my silverbeat grew very big bushes which was great to see but it one bush has a mould like cover on it, does not wipe off? any help tips please
07 Jun 10 (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Louise, It sounds like mildew on your plant. The best option is to remove it completely. Don't compost it , burn or bury it away from your vege garden.
03 Sep 10 Leeanne (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there I have just planted my silverbeet last month I have been getting green spinach coloured leaves with white stalks but now I notice they are starting to flower already and growing very tall. So I planted new ones but they are also flowering and growing thin and tall. what do I do.How do I avoid this happening or am I doing something wrong? Please help thank you
16 Nov 10 kezzy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi Leeanne, I'm a newish gardener but it sounds like you're silverbeet plants have just gone to seed. The Spring in the earth does it and mine are going crazy at the moment. You can either cut the flowering stems right out and they'll grow back or take the whole plant out and start again. I have grown some from seed and have them still in plant containers and they haven't gone to seed yet, so I will wait until a bit later to put them in so they don't bolt. If you have rabbits or guinea pigs, they love the seed tops or you can leave them for the birds.
07 Mar 11 Roo (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
My silverbeet is two seasons old now and is bolting. Does anyone know how many seasons can I keep the same plants for? Thank you :)
25 May 11 CarolAnn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can't see where it says full sun is OK, though I think it is?? Do I have to wait until Sept to plant a few?
06 Jul 11 Jo (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Well silverbeet at my house hardly grows! I have cabbage carrots lettuce all doing fine yet the silverbeet plants never take off. People who owned house before us had a wonderful supply of Silverbeet... what am I doing wrong

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New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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