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Imagebitbit
Apr 18, 2011 12:22 PM CST
Name: bit
Eastern VA and NC
Zone 7b/8a
I'm not in your zone, but I think chard grows prolifically just about anywhere. It can grow 12 months down here, but would probably die back for a bit of the winter where you are.

I love how many different uses there are for it. The tender leaves can be eaten as salad, and the bigger ones can be cooked like any other hearty green. If you cook it lightly first, it freezes well, so it's one of my winter staples. There are a ton of recipes for it on the Just Swiss Chard cubit: http://cubits.org/Bountiful/

Zucchini is another one that's super easy to grow and versatile. The young fruits can be eaten raw, and are delicious with just a drizzle of dressing.

Snap peas are one of my favorite things to eat straight out in the garden. They aren't quite as prolific as the other two, but relatively low maintenance and they also like cold weather - you can plant them before the last frost in the spring.

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