Silverbeet 'Fordhook Giant'
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Common Names: Silverbeet 'Fordhook Giant', Chard 'Fordhook Giant', Swiss Chard 'Fordhook Giant'
Fordhook Giant is a traditional, open-pollinated, heirloom silverbeet variety. It was first introduced to the public by the Burpee Seed Company in 1924 and is likely of Dutch origin.
The dark green leaves of this variety are tasty and nutritious and can be used in anyway you would use spinach. Younger leaves are tender and can be eaten raw but older leaves will benefit from a brief cooking. The white stems are also edible raw when sliced thin with dips or cooked like celery in soups and casseroles.
Silverbeets can be heavy feeders so be sure to mix a combination of any nitrogen-rich organic fertilisers, well rotted manures, worm juice, worm castings or compost through the soil prior to planting. Mulch around silverbeet plants well to retain moisture, keep their root systems cool, and keep weed seedlings at bay. Each silverbeet seed is actually a dried cluster containing many individual seeds so thin to the strongest seedling from each cluster once they have germinated. This variety will tolerate light frosts. Choose a growing site that receives full sun or light shade for best growth. Water regularly especially when the weather is warm as silverbeet plants will suffer if the soil is allowed to fully dry out.
When To Sow:
Sow Fordhook Giant silverbeet from September to May in temperate regions of Australia. In subtropical and tropical regions of Australia sow silverbeet seed any time of the year.
How To Sow:
Sow silverbeet seeds 2cm deep spacing plants about 30cm apart to allow plenty of room for growth.
Silverbeet seeds take between 8 and 10 days to germinate once sown.
Time To Harvest:
Fordhook Giants silverbeet plants will big enough to pick 7 to 8 weeks after sowing, although you can harvest individual leaves as needed as soon as they are large enough.