The story of SuperChard:
Its origin is unknown. It might come from Bountiful Garden seed, or perhaps Franchi.
It volunteered in a corner of one of our backyard beds, in a bed we were resting. We didn’t water it. It grew all summer long anyway, despite having no rain at all. In fact, it grew huge and lush. We never harvested it, though, because it was growing in our lead contaminated soil. So we continued to ignore it and it continued to thrive.
It sucked up the winter rains and grew even bigger. Then, early this spring, as part of our whole “dealing with the lead” problem we tore out the two raised beds in Lead Central in order to dig out the clay beneath them to make adobe bricks. By this time SuperChard was so magnificent I couldn’t kill him (around this time I began to anthropomorphize the chard), so I trimmed off his outer leaves (some of which were as long as my arm) and transplanted him into a self-watering container (SIP).
I knew that transplanting such a big, established plant would be difficult, but by this time I really wanted to harvest this plant’s seed. So I told him that I wanted to preserve his genetic legacy–what plant doesn’t want that?–and praised his beauty, and babied him through the transition.
SuperChard adapted beautifully to life in a container and quickly grew back to full size. We took him with us to our various gigs, both to show people what a SIP was and to blow their minds with the beauty of chard. I wish I had a pic of SuperChard in full leaf. In the photo above all his energy has gone into the flower, so the leaves are a sad shadow of their former glory. Basically, SuperChard used to look like an exotic, pampered tropical plant. One that did not mind rattling around in our hatchback and getting dragged all over tarnation.
Chard reproduces in its second year, and SuperChard’s time has come. He began to bolt with our first heat wave and has sent up a huge flower spike. He drinks like crazy to support the SuperSpike–so we fill the SIP reservoir daily.
I’ll be sad to say goodbye to SuperChard, but I will be collecting his seed. And I do believe we will have to keep our promise to him and spread his genetic diversity far and wide by sending his seed across the country to be stewarded by our readers.
Watch out for a seed giveaway later this summer.