Most people who like spinach find it a difficult vegetable to grow. If the weather is dry and the soil isn't right, it can quickly run to seed, and so it gets crossed off next year's seed list. These gardeners should turn to the leaf beets. Both swiss chard and spinach beet are very easy to grow, succeeding in ordinary soils and refraining from bolting when the weather turns dry.

There are also other benefits. Sowing in spring will enable you to pick from July right through to the following June if you cover the plants with cloches or straw during winter. Also, the leaves of swiss chard are attractive enough for it to be grown in the flower border, and also versatile enough for it to be used as a dual-purpose vegetable.