Chard, Bietola a Costa Fine (Organic)
Beta vulgaris. 30 days baby, 50 full.
Traditional Tuscan-type, green leaf chard often simply called Bietola. The sweetest chard we have ever tried. Young leaves have little to no oxalic acid flavor at all. Older leaves have more standard chard flavor, yet are still uniquely mild and tasty. Leaves tend to be smaller with thinner midribs than more modern chard varieties. Bietola a Costa Fine is somewhere between a giant spinach and a small Swiss Chard leaf. A type of bunching green Eliot Colman called “Butter Chard” is his Winter Harvest Handbook. Excellent grown as a winter vegetable crop in an unheated greenhouse, often yielding a burst of bounty in the spring. After overwintering in Italy, in the late-spring of the second season, the roots were traditionally processed into sugar. A heritage variety from Agricultori Custodi, a seed preservation group in Tuscany, Italy.
Seed produced by Avoca in Corvallis, Oregon.
Seed in flats or direct sow March through early August in rows that are 1′ apart. Thin to 1′ spacing for bunching, or 4” for salad size plants. In our area, chard can grow through the winter without protection, but should be planted out in August for this purpose.
Collect seeds from 20 or more plants in second year once they have started to dry down, usually September. Cut seed heads, place on fabric or a tarp to dry a few more days, then dance to free seed. Collect seeds, then screen and winnow to clean. Isolate from B. vulgaris by 1 mile. Isolate from GMO sugar beet seed production by 2+ miles.