Two things are doing incredibly well in the polytunnel at the moment – tomatoes and Swiss chard. In fact, both of them are doing rather too well. It’s quite hard to get in the polytunnel at all!

Towering tomatoes

Tomatoes we all know about, but Swiss chard? Have you come across that? It’s amazingly popular in France. My dad used to grow some many years ago, but that was either golden or red. Here they seem to mainly go for the white variety, and that’s what I’ve got.

I’ve grown it from seed. I transplanted some seedlings outside but they stubbornly refused to grow any bigger and eventually disappeared. Not so the seedlings that I planted out in the polytunnel in a raised bed packed full of rich compost. To say they’re thriving is a massive understatement! They’ve swamped some of my cucumbers unfortunately.

Championship chard

Swiss chard is sometimes called perpetual spinach. You can continually harvest it, a stalk at a time and it keeps on growing merrily. Which is handy, because it’s rather tasty and is incredibly good for you. And despite the name, it’s not Swiss at all. It hails from the Mediterranean region. Aristotle used to eat it and Roman soldiers valued it for its medicinal properties.

Coriander (left) and cucumbers

Chard is in the chenopod family, along with beet, spinach and quinoa, and we all know how beneficial they are for us. Apparently they have unique epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids  and phytonutrients which are really rather healthy. The latter include kaempferol, which is carioprotective, and syringic acid, nastily named but excellent at helping to regulate blood sugar. You should have at least a couple of servings a day. We practically have a couple with every meal. Chris does a rather good chard stir fry with ginger and garlic, and I throw them in my bacon quiches and that works very nicely too.

Check out this website to find out more about all the good things in this rather wonderful vegetable.

The next edible item up for scrutiny in my blog will be this:

So watch this space!