Chard, Joy’s Midnight (Organic)
Beta vulgaris. 30 days baby, 60 full.
A uniquely dark-leaved chard. Most plants have leaves that are incredibly deep dark burgundy; we have been selecting for dark leaves with almost luminescent yellow-orange midribs. Classic chard flavor, good tolerance to cold and wet conditions. Both color and flavor intensify as plants mature; baby leaves are milder to both the eye and taste buds. As with many dark-leaved crops, leaves are smaller than most other types of chard and are more suited for salad mix, braising mix, or small bunches than large market bunches. Joy’s Midnight chard is a moderately variable population and this wonderful variability can be stewarded in different directions by other seed savers. Initially selected by Joy Larkcom from Bull’s Blood beet for having larger chard-type leaves (possibly crossed with a perpetual spinach type). Given to us in Ireland by Joy Larkcom on our 2007 Seed Ambassadors trip. Aka, Joy Larkcom’s Midnight.
Crop Failure in 2021. Since this variety is a biennial, it will not be available for purchase until at least 2024.
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.