50 French Spinach-Chard seeds, Beta vulgaris, heirloom
Called English Chard, French Chard and/or Spinach Chard, this heirloom European vegetable lost out in the battle with the larger and more sturdy Swiss Chard for marketplace dominance and name recognition. The word Swiss was added to the word chard by 19th century seed catalogs to help distinguish this vegetable from the popular French spinach-chard varieties. (There are two rankless cultivar groups for chard: the Cicla-Group for the leafy spinach beet family, and the Flavescens-Group for the thick-stalked Swiss chard, this seed stock being of the former group.) The spine is much thinner, smaller and more tender than typical Swiss chards, making the entire leaf a delicious side dish. More suited for local Farmer's Markets than commercial packing and shipping and eventual display, this delicate veggie is a culinary cross between baby green chard and spinach, being about half the height of common Swiss chard and much more tender.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used chard for medicinal purposes as early as the fourth century B.C. Chard is native to the Mediterranean region, found mostly in Italy, France, and Spain (but not Switzerland).
This particular variety was grown by Martial Cottle and Walter Cottle Lester on their 350 acre farm in San Jose for nearly 100 years, where I (Datura Don) acquired some of their heirloom seed stock just before Mr. Cottle died. (I had one of my bee hives at the farm for over a year.)
A very easy to grow heirloom plant that readily reseeds itself. Cool weather crop, plant in early fall or early spring. Let one plant go to seed and keep this species alive and well.
Another rare heirloom from White Buffalo Trading.