Growing Beets
Easy and Nutritious


I have started growing beets after years of omitting them in my yearly vegetable garden.

When I was a young married wife I had prepared a batch of pickled beets one day and when my husband came home I proudly displayed my handy work.

I soon learned he could not stand to be around beets and the odor of cooking them kept him for the house for a few days until the odor dissipated.

I didn’t under stand his dislike to the lowly beet but it is the only vegetable he has an aversion to. In fact he can’t even smell them with out becoming nauseous.

So I have been happy to receive a few bottles of pickled beets from my mother each season.

Photo by Chiot’s Run

As I have grown older I miss cooking up my own batch of beets and so my husband and I have come to an agreement that I will cook the beets outside on the porch to keep the odor from the house. I am now happily growing beets again each spring.

 

Beet Varieties

Photo by La Grande Farmers's Market

Detroit Dark Red 60 days to harvest; Produce medium size roots that grow to 3 inches and are tender and sweet. This is a good variety for pickling and canning.

Sweetheart 58 days to harvest; extra-sweet, round, tasty roots; tops good for greens

Golden 55 days to harvest; has a golden orange color with a mild sweet flavor. This beet is not as strong as the red beets. If you don’t like the musty flavor of the red varieties give this one a try. The green leaves are good for eating. Steam or eat fresh in a salad.

Beet seeds come in little seed bundles that look like pieces of corn husk. Each bundle has several seeds inside. To soften and speed germination you can soak the seeds for 12 hours before planting.


Growing Beets

Beets can be planted about a month before the last spring frost or later in the summer for a fall crop.

Beet love cool weather so plant them in the rows about the time you plant your carrots. You can mix the seed with radish seed so the when the radish germinate the rows are marked. The radish will mature a month before the beets. As you harvest your radishes the beets will loose soil and room to grow.

Plant in full sun in well drained soil. Plant seeds ½ to 1 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Keep the seeds moist until germination about 10 to 12 days later.

Seedlings need to be thinned as the beets grow to about 4 to 6 inches apart. The thinned plants can be eaten in salads or cooked.

Keep beets well watered and weeded as they grow. The beets can be harvested when the roots reach 11/2 to 2 inches in diameter. The tops are cut 1 inch above the root to keep the roots from bleeding during cooking.

The small beets are good for pickling and canning. Winter beets are harvested before the ground freezes and stored in a cool cellar to use throughout the winter.

 


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