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In addition to salads or spinach, chard can also bloom under unfavorable circumstances. The question arises what to do with the chard plants and how best to prevent shooting.

In a nutshell

  • Because of the large leaves, flowers are difficult to recognize
  • Flower stalks can be removed
  • shot chard is comparable to rhubarb
  • The ingredients and taste change, but the vegetables do not become toxic

Identify shot chard plants

Since leaf chard in particular has large leaves, the flowers are difficult to recognize at first. Only when the flower stalk extends beyond the leaves does it become apparent that the vegetable is in flower. A growth spurt is also suspect. The flowers on the flower stalk are rather inconspicuous and resemble the flowers of the sorrel.


When chard blooms, the main thing that changes is the tissue structure of the plants. The stems and leaves become harder, stems also fibrous. They are therefore no longer as pleasant to eat and also no longer taste as good. Generally speaking, leafy greens that shoot become inedible.
However, the plants are not directly poisonous, they are still edible. While lettuce or spinach increases in nitrate levels as they shoot, more oxalic acid is accumulated in chard, similar to rhubarb. That means you shouldn't eat as much of it at once.

Notice: Too much oxalic acid promotes kidney stones.

use and processing

If it is still to be eaten, the shot chard is harvested as quickly as possible. Since the highest concentration of oxalic acid is in the stalks, these are removed. If the leaves taste good, they can still be used as normal. Leftovers are frozen.
If it turns out that the vegetables are inedible, the first step is to cut off the entire plant at about the ground level. When the leafy greens sprout again, the leaves should taste normal again. If this is not the case, the only thing that helps is to completely remove the chard plants from the bed and compost them. If you want to continue harvesting leaf chard, you will need to reseed it. However, it will be a while before the next harvest.

Prevent blooming

One of the best measures is to only cultivate chard once a year. In the first year, the vegetable begins to bloom only under adverse circumstances. These include:

  • great drought
  • wrong nutrient supply
  • wrong location (too warm)

So that you don't notice too late that your chard is blooming, check it regularly when watering. Regular watering is also a good anti-flowering measure.
If flower stalks are recognizable, they are immediately broken off or torn out. With a bit of luck, the plant will be prevented from flowering and will sprout new leaves. You should always harvest the leaves as young as possible.
Another way to prevent dead chard is to only grow hardy varieties. However, even these strains do not give a 100% guarantee, they are just less likely to flower.

Notice: Seed-resistant varieties are usually not bolt-resistant because they have to flower in order to be able to gain new seeds.

frequently asked Questions

Are there differences between stem and leaf chard?

As for flowering or shooting, not. The approach is the same for both types of chard. With stem chard, however, the use of shooted plants is even more limited because they are grown for their stems. Swiss chard is also an annual and can therefore flower in the first year.

Can you use seeds from chard for sowing?

If it's a seed resistant strain, that's possible. With hybrid varieties it is usually not worthwhile, the daughter plants will then have different properties and these are unpredictable. If seeds are to be collected, the flowers are allowed to wither and the seeds to mature thoroughly.

Why are vegetables shooting?

Even cultivars of useful plants have not yet completely lost the urge to reproduce through flowering and seed formation. With leaf chard, it is often because the plants are cultivated biennially. No flowers form in the first year. After hibernation, however, flowering can hardly be avoided, and even cutting it off often doesn't change anything. Only early harvesting reliably prevents shooting.

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