There’s No Place Like Home…for Gardening, That Is

There’s no place like home!

When it comes to grabbing food for the dinner table, harvesting from your home garden is about as convenient as a person could want. While I primarily support edible gardening in school and community gardens – sometimes I get to support folks that are interested in edible gardening at home, too. One of my favorite things about our local One Seed program is that the seeds and education being shared out to the community- may find their way into a school garden, community garden, your backyard, or maybe even a planter on your patio. Why is that? Well, we purposefully try to offer a crop with some versatility in how and where you can grow it. So, give One Seed a try and let us know how it goes!

This year’s crop is sure to decorate your garden- wherever that may be. Get ready to channel your inner Dorothy as the vibrant red stem on this crop will remind you of those ruby slippers in Wizard of Oz. Glitter optional. Ruby Red or ‘rhubarb’ chard is a fitting name for this delightful Swiss chard.


Young Ruby Red Swiss Chard growing in raised bed.
Young Ruby Red Swiss Chard growing in raised bed.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a common crop I see growing in our community gardens, and school gardens enjoy it, too. When I asked how they like to eat it- one teacher said they bake it like a kale chip and the kids love it! Not only does Swiss chard dress up a dish, but it also provides visual interest to the garden, too. Swiss chard varieties may offer different colored stems, and some leaves are more savoyed, or crinkled, than others. Keep an eye out for these free seeds that will come to your local Sarasota County libraries soon.

Image of One Seed Flyer of what to look for at the libraries.
Image of One Seed Flyer of what to look for at the libraries.

Look For One Seed at Your Local Library

Our local libraries are a great way to route seed packets close to you, wherever you enjoy gardening in our county. While at the library, you can look for books about gardening in Florida. Gardening books by James Stephens or Tom MacCubbin may be there. Sometimes I find them available for purchase in the Friends bookstore, too. Maybe you’ll try a culinary adventure after browsing the cookbook section of the library. I can say I would not purposefully look for a lettuce cake recipe online, but stumbling into one at the library was a fun find. Or maybe your local library has a demo garden attached, perhaps a walk in the garden while you read the One Seed packet instructions will spur your green thumb into planting action for your home garden.

Creating Connections with One Seed

Look for me at the library, this winter I’ll be teaching free One Seed workshops at various libraries in Sarasota County.  While we primarily focus on one specific crop each year a.k.a. One Seed, I will share resources about vegetable gardening, too. So, whether you are new or a ‘seasoned’ gardener, you are welcome to attend. This way we can learn from each other when we turn and talk. Participants aren’t required to, but are encouraged, to turn and talk about what food they want to grow, what they’ve grown, how they’ve grown it, and of course ideas on how to prepare and eat veggies. So, this class is fun for gardeners and/or cooks of all skill levels. Or maybe you want to stop in and share a silly garden pun, that’s great, too! If you are shy, you are still welcome to attend- I may have a book you can review while others chat.

Share Your Experience

If you have grown Swiss chard (especially Ruby Red/ rhubarb variety) and you want to share photos, food ideas, growing experience- challenges or successes – I encourage you to come to a class, and if you like- I encourage you to share here, too. Or email me at If you are wondering why Swiss chard? Too many to mention… so please stay tuned for more about this One Seed selection in future blogs. Hopefully I can highlight your feedback and share it with others. After all, the intention behind One Seed is to create community around a shared interest in growing and enjoying food… so don’t be shy.


Posted: December 13, 2023

Category: Fruits & Vegetables, Health & Nutrition, Home Landscapes, Work & Life
Tags: One Seed, Pgm_Gardens,, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

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