Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Days to Maturity: 52 days
Native: Mediterranean region, Europe
Hardiness: Biennial; fairly cold tolerant. Will overwinter in mild climates and withstand light to moderate freezes.
Plant Dimensions: Up to 20″ tall
Variety Information: Bright Lights was developed by John Eaton of New Zealand, and introduced in the 1990s. The petioles (leafstalks) can be yellow, gold, orange, pink, crimson, or purple. Bright Lights has a lighter, milder flavor compared to other chards. It was chosen as an All-America Selections winner in 1998, and is also the recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Attributes: Good for Containers
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is at least 40°F, ideally 75°–90°F. Sow as late as 2 months before first fall frost. Mild Climates: Sow in fall.
When to Start Inside: 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting out, 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date (protect from heavy freezes).
Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
Seed Depth: ½”
Seed Spacing: A group of 2 seeds every 8″
Row Spacing: 18″
Thinning: When ½” tall, thin to 1 every 8″
Harvesting: Pick up to 1/3 of the outer leaves as needed, and let more leaves grow from the center of the plant; or, if desired, harvest the whole plant 2″ above ground, and it will grow back. Pick very young leaves, at 2″-4″ for using fresh in salads.