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Protecting Chard and Spinach

I have some chard and perpetual spinach/spinach beet I'm hoping to overwinter. Does anyone have experience of doing this? How much protection do they need, if any?

On a related note, so far this summer the local wildlife (slugs, caterpillars etc) have eaten more of my spinach beet and rocket than we have. Has anyone had success in protecting these? Space is tight and I am growing them between other vegetables in some places.

Thanks in advance!


  • I sowed 2 rows of chard direct into the veg plot last autumn - one row spent the winter under a mini - polytunnel type cloche - the other row stood unprotected under a couple of feet of snow for at least two months.  Despite me trying to make sure the ones under the cloche got plenty of ventilation etc, they succumbed to mildew.  The row that spent the winter 'out in the weather' survived to produce lots of pickings in the spring.  

    This year I've sowed two rows of Swiss Chard into the veg patch and will leave them to look after themselves image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Great, I will do similar and see how they last. I have found, similarly, that the spinach beet I netted was eaten more than before it was netted. Not sure if the netting prevented the birds picking off minibeasts, or if the leaves were closer together and easier to eat.

  • My chard was attacked by something earlier in the season, but now the weather is cooler they look much less like lace curtains - must be fewer of whatever it is that eats them about. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I usually plant both in July and give them protection in winter with added help of slug bait. They sit there doing nothing till March/April and then reward me with a good crop till June. So have a go as they demand little care.

  • I find chard to be as tough as old boots, and able to withstand hard winters without protection.

    The leaves on mine are still being chomped to ribbons by caterpillar or something, as are my black kale plants. They're not netted but the birds are simply not cooperating by eating the beasties. I just hope the colder weather will soon reduce the insect population.

  • I'm hoping the same Green Magpie! My chard isn't attracting the beasties - probably as it's stil quite small - but the spinach beet can resemble net curtains. Thanks for the feedback about your experiences over winter all.

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