Growing and marketing swiss chard at local green markets in South Florida

Kenneth D. Shuler, Stephen J. Nie, Pei -Ann N. Shuler


Stephen's Produce began in 1995 as a 0.03 acre market garden to supply the Jupiter Farms Green Market with a Saturday supply of "garden fresh" produce. By 2002-2003, 0.25 acres were under cultivation and clientele were being served at two weekend green markets. 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard has been included in the crop mix for three seasons. The sandy garden soil was amended with compost and horse manure/ bedding and irrigated via drip tubing. Open beds on 4 ft centers were made each year and an insecticidal bait and fertilizer were applied preplant. For the 2002-2003 season, an initial "starter" planting of chard was made 31 August followed by three main plantings made at weekly intervals from 2-16 October with the intention of cutting each bed every 21 days. Chard was direct seeded two rows per bed and first harvest was made 18 October (48 days after seeding). Chard was usually cut Friday evenings, bunched, spray washed, and stored overnight in a Styrofoam cooler with ice. Bunches of chard weighed from 1.15 to 1.5 lb and were sold at $2.00 to $3.00 per bunch depending on size and availability ($1.33-2.00/lb). An average of 27 bunches of chard (36 lb) valued at $66 were sold each week for the 31 week market season.


compost; farmers market; garden

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283