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How to use Chard? Tea?

 
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Alright I realize that people like to eat swiss chard though I'm currently not a huge fan. So I'm looking for some uses for this plant.

In reading about its root structure at Root Development of Vegetable Crops and I believe it makes for an excellent miner of of soil nutrients. I already have several plants over wintered, and I seeded it every and anywhere and have let my plants go to seed in multiple areas so I see it pop up everywhere.

So the question is how should I use it to get the most benefit? Picking off handfuls of leaves to toss in the compost would be easy, but I can see that as wastefully not allowing full use of the accumulated nutrients. How would making a tea out of it like a comfrey tea work out?
Feeding it to critters would be a good use though I don't have rabbits/chickens yet and wont for the near future.

Any input would be great.

Thanks for your time,
Michael
 
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Hi Michael --

As a chard-lover (I have a bowl of eggs scrambled with veggies, including sautéed chopped chard at my elbow, as I type this!), how to use chard is not a problem for me!
(Thanks for the info about it being a miner of soil nutrients; if I had to, I'd guess that's why I like it so much: somehow it just seems to hold little "keys" that seem to turn in my dietary "locks" that make me feel great.)

Can't speak to the tea idea...

However, I do have an idea for you: why not use your extra chard as mulch?
Do a "chop and drop" of these big leaves nearby, to compost in place, making those nutrients available to nearby wanted vegetation, and suppressing weeds/grass that you don't want?
They should give good coverage, per volume, as the leaves are large.
And the fibrousness of the central stalk should help you handle them to lay them pretty flat. And the stalks will degrade a little slower, to last for a little longer as a mulch (I think).
I must admit I never tried this, though.

What do you think?
Mariamne
 
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Mariamne Ingalls wrote:
Do a "chop and drop" of these big leaves nearby, to compost in place, making those nutrients available to nearby wanted vegetation, and suppressing weeds/grass that you don't want?


I have done this with chard which went to seed. It works pretty well, and my plants survived the assault fairly well

But I'm like Mariamne and like to eat it. And my chickens go nuts over it!
 
Michael Campbell
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Maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way and I should find someone to give the chard I'm grow to. Since, to some folks, it does have food value. That makes tossing it in a heap or on the ground or making a "tea" seem like a waste. Another push for backyard chickens to the wife is also required. Thank you both for your replies.
 
Mariamne Ingalls
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Hi Michael-

I find it interesting to hear your further thoughts -- yes, I guess other chard-eaters and chicken-keepers nearby are prospects!

Thanks a bunch for that link to Root Development in Vegetable Crops in your original post.
Glad to know this is available.
Loved the info there on Chard!

Mariamne
 
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Hey Michael,

What about incorporating it into a smoothie? If you mix it with some fruit and/or coconut milk, you will get the dietary benefit without the taste!
 
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Or use it as an addition to soup or stock, using other veggies and meats to cover the chard flavor.
 
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Location: AR, USA
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Soups, smoothies, even a vegetable puree dip for pita chips or a bit added to sour cream on the baked potato are good ways to use it.

It is also good feed for chickens, rabbits, even a goat or pig and, you could then eat the animal that ate the chard. Any excess is good for compose or mulch.
 
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Remove the leaf from the stalks and feed to the rabbits or chickens. Blanche the stalks for a minute or so then peel off any string from the stalk. Chop up the stalks into bite size bits and cook in a good cheese sauce with black pepper in oven. makes them more palitable
 
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