A sensational ornamental chard that will brighten up your vegetable plot or patio containers – and true to its name, ‘Bright Lights’ can also provide colourful contrast in herbaceous garden beds and borders. With dark green and bronze leaves and rainbow stems ranging from white and orange-yellow through to pinky red and purple, it is a real stunner, as well as being delicious to eat and packed full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fibre.
A worthy winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, this hardy biennial is easy to grow and slow-bolting. It will be ready to harvest in 4-6 weeks after sowing. Cropping prolifically over a long season, it is a true ‘cut and come again’ variety; the leaves will regenerate 1-2 weeks after harvesting the whole plant (leaving 2.5-5cm base), or remove just the outer leaves and allow the heart to grow on. The plants are robust enough to withstand light frosts and will continue to give good quality leaves until the colder winter weather sets in.
This versatile veg has a lovely mild, sweet flavour when picked as baby leaves for salads and garnishes, developing an interesting and slightly bitter note when left to mature. Cook as you would spinach – lightly steamed or stir-fried to retain colour, flavour and nutrients. There will be plenty to pick all through the season, so any excess can be blanched and packed in an airtight bag for the freezer, where it will store well for up to a year for adding to soups and stews.
Supplied as a packet of 150 (approx.) seeds ready to sow outdoors from April to mid-July, directly into their cropping position in well-drained, fertile soil. Harvest mid-July to November and if protected over winter will produce an early spring crop. Alternatively, sow in containers of at least 25cm (10in) depth and diameter (will accommodate 3-4 plants), using a good-quality compost.
How to grow Chard