square foot and sowing

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In Chicagoland, Zone 5, just put up a tiny raised 4' x 2' raised bed for sq. ft. garden.
I've got some seeds, probably too late to just sow them into the bed?
Romaine lettuce, Swiss Chard, big chivey looking onions.
Should I just go buy a bunch of seedlings instead? I'm never on time with the whole "start some seeds indoors in February" thing.
Any "good bet" seeds that might still get me something to harvest by August?
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Lettuce is good, and the onions will go dormant (no biggie). I don't think the Swiss chard would do much for you, unless you can over-winter it.
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
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You're kidding, right? There's plenty of time for the chard to make a good crop. If you overwinter it (and it likely will), you'll get a big alien looking thing that produces seeds next year.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/4 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Typically, the chard that I've grown from seed don't get very large the first year, but are fine producers thereafter. I have plants that I've been eating off of for over 6 years. They throw-out runners that root, and require little maintenance. Usually takes an act of god to kill one off. They over-winter here, but they get very little sunlight during the winter. Since we live in the trees and the trees are always growing, as a reasult every year is a little different.
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- Billy

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Billy said:

That sounds more like the habits of sorrel, not Swiss chard. Sorrel does look somewhat like chard, but is a perennial that spreads by runners. A popular green in many cuisines, sorrel is tarter than chard and usually not as deep a green color. Sorrel is Rumex acetosa. (There are other Rumex sp. that are used as greens, too.)
Swiss chard is the same species as the garden beet (Beta vulgaris). First year, greens and root, second year, bolt to seed (if it winters over at all, which it never has when I've grown it).
Rumex and Beta are genera in the Chenopodiaceae family, so there might be a family resemblance.
If you actually do have perennial chard...that would be something...but it is more likely you have some other green in the Chenopodiaceae family.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

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In article

My sorrel is safely in a pot and makes a good variation on vichyssoise soup. The sorrel tastes a lot like oxalis. Can't explain the behavior of my Swiss chard. What I have is a mix of plants from different sources. I can tell you that one of my neighbors has the same experience that I have. Every spring she pulls back the fallen oak leaves from her chard, and she is back in business. Oh, little mysteries of life.
"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses." - Hanna Rion
--
- Billy

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-snip-

What zone are you in? I'd be interested in perennial chard if it bears any resemblance to Swiss Chard.
Got a picture? Is it Beta Maritima? [the only perennial chard I could find reference to-- and nothing about anyone eating it]
http://online-media.uni-marburg.de/biologie/botex/mallorca05/bildgross/beta_maritima.jpg
If it has some juicy stalks like these- I'm in-
http://online-media.uni-marburg.de/biologie/botex/mallorca05/bildgross/beta_vulgaris_mangold.jpg
Jim
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9b

It is Swiss chard that I bought as packets of seeds. I've gone back through my receipts and can't find the purchase so it may have been purchased of the rack at the local nursery. The last ones were the rain-bow mix.

I'll try to get one up today.

Indeed, that is what they look like.

I double checked with my neighbor (just to confirm that I hadn't lost my mind), and she confirmed that her's lasted years, and recounted a story from a friend of hers who has the same experience.
Oh, little mysteries of life.
--
- Billy

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-snip-

That makes it clear. Your 'winter' is about like the OP [and my] spring and fall in zone 5- which are the best times to eat chard. It generally doesn't do well in our 'summer'- which might reach the 90s 4-5 days a year. -snip-

Now I'm surprised that you can't pick it from Oct-April.
Jim
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I probably could, but the sun disappears below the tree line from about Dec. to March. and the best I get is a little broken sunlight. During the summer my best is about 6 hours of full sun.
--
- Billy

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<http://tinypic.com/1r509n5u Click on garden 2011 From left to right: Picture #1 shows some of the Swiss chard.
Picture #2 you can see the seed stalk that has fallen over going from upper middle to middle left, then doubling back to lower middle, and there is a thin stalk that comes from the same stalk that goes up in the middle of the picture and leans off to the right,
Picture #3 shows another stalk that has settled on a wire arbor, where it has created another plant some 4" off the ground, but you can see that it tried to put out roots.
Picture #4 shows a parent plant on the left, and the stalk has set a nother plant to its right.

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Oddly enough, I posted a URL to the pictures yesterday, but the post never materialized, so let's try it again. <http://tinypic.com/1r509n5uClick on Garden 2011.
From left to right, pic #1 is of some of the chard with some celery in the foreground.
Pic #2 is chard and garlic. The chard's stalk goes from upper middle to middle left, and then turns and goes to bottom middle, where a new growth raises up the middle of the picture to veer off to the right.
Pic #3 shows another chard whose stalk fell on a wire cage, where a new plant tried to put down roots, 4 inches off the ground.
Pic #4 shows chard and garlic with the parent chard and off-spring connected by old seed stalk.
The deal is that these plants don't die after 2 years. They keep making new leaves, and new plants.

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Where are you located? As Pat said, this doesn't sound like any flavor of Beta Vulgaris, especially the runners.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/4 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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70 miles north of San Francisco, west of Santa Rosa, 30 min. from the Jenner.

Runner may have been the wrong term. The stalk will flop over, and where it touches the ground, it will put out adventitious roots.

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wrote:

Doesn't sound like my chard either. Maybe I won't pull the plants up this fall and see if I have anything there in the spring.
--
USA
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FWIW, chard winters over nicely here in upstate NY (about 150 mi N of the Big Apple), so I don't have to do anything special to grow it for seed. I think I mentioned earlier that I have a metric buttload of "Schnittmangelb Gold" seedlings coming up where I grew it for seed last year. Nice tender light green variety, though not as vigorous as the solid green types.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/4 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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wrote:

What you have is not Swiss chard. Chard will be producing well in a few months, does not run and usually only lasts two years when they produce a large flowering head and then die.
Is this what you have?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chard
The colours are variable the form is not.
David
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    I'd love to see a photo. Wonder whether the leaves are furry. Can't really say why but I suspect he's misidentified "New Zealand spinach" (Tetragonia tetragonoides). It's grown as an annual in those parts of North America with a long enough warm season and killing frosts are rare from USDA zone 9b southward. I'm on the 9a-b cusp in peninsular Florida and have dismal success with Swiss chard and beets and only moderate results with spinach but New Zealand spinach does well, requiring only minimal protection save in the very coldest winters and makes a good "cut 'n come again" potherb.
--
Derald

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Must be in the air. I've gardened for decades but this year I tried a 2x4 garden myself.
I'll be interested in hearing from anyone who tried the intensive planting of square foot gardening for more than a year.

I planted some lettuce, radishes, bok choy, spinach & carrots in mine a few weeks ago-- but I'm going to do another in a week or so.
I'll plant some more lettuce, maybe some radishes, some beets [already started] and a couple bush beans as a pure experiment.

I think they'll all do fine. I don't know what Billy's smoking on this one- most Swiss chard is mature in about 2 months. Some does better in hot weather.

If you like radishes at all you can harvest some in early June. Lots of beans are 50-60 days. Zucchini/summer squash can still be planted a couple weeks from now. [but would take up your whole bed-- plant them in a buried pot and mulch around them]
Look over a seed rack and see how many say to plant "after all danger of frost is past." In zone 5 that's mid-late May. Then check the days to maturity- You've got lots of options.
Jim
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On Mon, 9 May 2011, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I made the bed 12" deep, by taking two sets of raised bed kits that I got from Aldi really cheap, and cut down one set of plastic "timbers", because 4 x 4 just seemed goofy for the space I have and the sad sun exposure I have as well. This replaces a long row of single containers I had last year.
Now I have to figure out a temp cover to keep the squirrels and neighborhood cats from digging it all up, too.
<snip>

good! I know I can always recover in a couple weeks if nothing sprouts by buying seedlings, but if nothings going to sprout at all, I don't want to waste my time. I figure I can cover with some light plastic to make it greenhousey.
thanks
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