Mangold - unpretentious, useful and productive
You will not often see a mangold on our beds - in Russia this is still a curiosity. But in vain! Such an amazing vegetable is worthy of a place in the garden of every summer resident. Unpretentious, useful, fruitful! It can grow all year round, first in the open ground, and then in the greenhouse or on the windowsill. And he can be assigned a place not only in the beds, but also in the flower garden. In containers, the chard looks no less spectacular than the decorative foliage cultures we are used to. In my article I will tell you about the chard in detail, and perhaps he will have new fans.
Despite the fact that the word "chard" sounds really exotic, in fact this plant is just a subspecies of beetroot - a relative of ordinary beetroot, as well as fodder and sugar. However, despite such close kinship, it is not the root crop that is edible for him, but the petioles and leaves.
Externally chard (lat. Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla, syn. B. cicla convar. occidentale-europea), except for beets, in the early stages of development resembles rhubarb to many, and without knowing both plants “in person”, they are easily confused. However, as you grow, you realize that a chard is a chard!
It has beautiful, catchy, fairly large leaves, up to 30 cm long and bright, medium long petioles, up to 25 cm high. Unlike rhubarb, the leaves are glossy and not so round, but, unlike beets, are more wrinkled with thicker expressive veins.
The modern varietal variety of culture allows you to choose chards with different "appearance" for their beds - red, raspberry, dark green, yellow, silver or whitish petioles. Smooth, wavy or unusually curly (bubbly) leaves. In this case, the leaves in shape can be either heart-shaped, or somewhat elongated - heart-ovate.
The stems of the chard are high (up to 2 m), powerful, with pronounced ribbing, they easily break. But the flowers are small, nondescript whitish or greenish. Collected in a peculiar glomerulus, from which large leafy inflorescences are formed. Fruits are nuts.
In culture, two forms of chard are cultivated - “stem”, distinguished by strongly protruding veins from the stem and “shnitt-chard”, also called “Roman cabbage”, “chard-cutter”, or “leafy chard”. The first one is removed for eating the whole leaf with the stem, the second, as the name suggests, only a leaf blade. Varieties of chard stalk with red veins have a more pronounced aroma.
The chard belongs to the Marevy family. It is a biennial plant. In the first year, it increases the leaf apparatus, in the second it blooms. But in our conditions it is used as an annual. Petioles are often used for food in plants because they are tastier, although leaflets, especially young ones, are also good in vitamin salads. In restaurants and cafes, you can often meet them as an extraordinary decoration of dishes.
The root of the chard is quite long, cylindrical, with red or white pulp. Unsuitable for food, as it is hard and unpleasant in taste.
Useful properties and methods of consumption of chard
Chard is an amazingly “rich" plant. The high content of vitamins C, A, P, PP, K, E, B2, B, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, molybdenum, iodine, folic acid, fiber, protein make it a welcome addition to any healthy table.
It is recommended for anemia, digestive problems, diabetes, atherosclerosis, diseases of the bone and cardiovascular system, vision. It is used to strengthen immunity. Lowers blood pressure. Removes excess moisture and toxins. Suppresses inflammatory processes. Relieves pain. Improves brain function, hair condition. It is the prevention of the development of cancer cells.
But, despite so many “pros”, they should not be abused, since with excessive use, chard can cause stool upset.
One of the most valuable qualities of chard is that it arrives on the table earlier than early cabbage and is suitable for use until the end of the season.
There are many ways to use the chard, however, the culture has an important feature: its leaves are consumed both fresh and processed, but the petioles are mainly used only after heat treatment. Appetizers, cabbage rolls, botvini, soups, cold borsch, scrambled eggs, are cooked from miracle beets, stewed as a separate dish or with other vegetables, made toppings for pies, added to vitamin smoothies, dried, fermented, frozen, pickled.
The boiled stalks of chard taste like asparagus. The taste of fresh herbs only remotely resembles beets.
How is chard grown?
When choosing a place for a chard, one must take into account that he loves light, although he tolerates light shading too, but develops more slowly with a lack of sun and grows a smaller sheet. He loves fertile, well-cultivated soil and uniform moisture.
Precursors for it can be cucumber, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage. The neighbors are onions, beans, early types of cabbage, salads.
Chard sowing can be carried out three times per season:
- in spring, as soon as the soil warms up;
- in the middle of summer, after early carrots, green peas, spinach, early cabbage;
- under the winter.
Seeds are sown to a depth of 2-3 cm, at a distance of 25 cm, if the variety is leafy, 40 cm - if petiole, several pieces in a nest. With winter sowing, for the appearance of earlier seedlings, the bed is mulched.
Unlike ordinary beets, chard is less sensitive to low temperatures, its sprouts tolerate frosts well up to - 2 ° C, which makes it possible to sow it earlier than beets. However, when they get into cold temperatures, the plants immediately throw an arrow in the first year, it is important to consider this when choosing the timing of sowing.
Chard seeds germinate at a soil temperature of +5 ° C. Shoots appear together, after 8-12 days. Often from one seed, however, as with ordinary beets, several sprouts grow at once. They are thinned out, leaving to grow one at a time. To save seed and get away from troublesome thinning, you can grow a crop through seedlings.
Further, the garden bed is looked after in the traditional way: watering, cultivating row-spacings, weeding weeds. If shooting started, the peduncles are removed.
One of the features of the chard is uniform watering. With a lack of moisture in plants, coarsening of tissues occurs, which greatly reduces their nutritional value. But, in addition to watering, the culture responds well to nitrogen and potassium. For this reason, on poor soils, it can be fed several times with complete complex fertilizer. However, it is not worth abusing with top dressing, since, like other leaf crops, chard is prone to the accumulation of nitrates.
Mass harvesting of leaf chard is carried out two months after sowing seeds into the ground, petiolate - three. The sheet is not cut, but carefully broken out at the base. At the same time, the leaves are not removed all at once, but in one go no more than a quarter, or they break out individually. As new leaves grow, the cut is repeated. If the chard needs weeding, young plantlets are not thrown away, but used as food - the younger the leaf, the tastier it is.
Chard greens are used immediately, since when it is hung up it coarsens. However, if it is necessary to preserve it, it is placed in the lower section of the refrigerator, where the workpiece can “lie down” for about 2 days. For long-term storage, leaf beets are either dried, marinated, or frozen. Some housewives make a preparation for borsch from it: mix it with grated beets, onions, carrots, divide it into portions and send it to the freezer.
Individual plants with beds that leave in winter can be transplanted into deep (at least 30 cm) pots and taken to the house, to the south, south-east or south-west, in a word, the brightest window. The room temperature + 20 ... + 25 ° С is quite suitable for their distillation in the first winter months.
Note! Chard plants, torn with root crops, are stored in a cool place much longer than just cut leaves.
If you save the root crops and plant them for next year - you can get the seeds. However, more often the seeds are simply bought. At the same time, it is worth knowing that they are hermetically packed, they retain germination longer, up to 4-5 years.
Diseases and pests of chard
The set of diseases in chard is the same as in beets. In the seedling period, a black stalk can develop on it, its leaves often suffer from cercosporosis, seprothiosis, can be affected by gray rot, downy mildew, alternariosis, ramulariosis, scab, bacterial spotting.
The pests of the chard are the same as those of all haze-moths - earthen fleas, beet mining flies, caterpillars, black beet aphids, slugs, snails, oxalid bugs, cabbage scoops.
Overview of Chard Varieties and Hybrids
If you grow chard “according to the rules”, then with one square meter you can get up to 8 kg of the crop. But not the last role in this matter is played by the selected variety. And here you need to know what to choose from.
Choosing a chard for your beds, first of all, you need to look at its resistance to flowering (the ability to produce a flower stalk in the first year). Such grades include "Pomegranate", "Bali", "Scarlet", "Solger", "Mirage", "Rubarb", "Rubin7".
In addition, like other vegetable crops, chard varies in maturity. And here the early varieties ready to be eaten are likely to be interesting in 33-45 days: “Bride”, “Emerald”, “Bali”, “Ruby”, “Charlie”, “Mirage”.
And of course, in beauty, because he has so many different colors and shapes of leaves.
Mangold "Ruby" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity of 35-40 days. Petiole is red, 20-30 cm long. The leaf is green with pronounced red veins, medium bubble. Resistant to flowering.
Mangold "Lucullus" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity of 35-40 days. Petiole pale green, 25-30 cm long. The leaf is highly bubbled, green.
Mangold "Mirage" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity 40–45 days. Petiole is light green, 25 cm long. Leaves are slightly bubbled, large, oval-elongated, green. Resistant to flowering.
Mangold "Volcano" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity of 35-40 days. Petiole is bright red, 30-40 cm long. The leaf is dark green with red venation. It tastes like spinach.
Charlie mangold - from germination to the time of economic shelf life of 45 days. Petiole narrow, medium, red. The leaf is medium, glossy, green-red.
Mangold "Pomegranate" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity 30-40 days. Petiole is raspberry red. The leaf is bubbly, purple-green. Resistant to flowering.
Mangold "Solger" - from seedlings to the moment of economic validity of 35-40 days. Petiole is purple, narrow. The leaf is wide oval, red, medium gloss. Resistant to flowering.