Tips and Guidelines for Growing the Best Beets

Tips and Guidelines for Growing the Best Beets
Tips and Guidelines for Growing the Best Beets

Growing the best Beets can be easy and satisfying if you follow a few simple tips and guidelines. Prepare the soil, fertilize carefully, sow the seed lavishly, thin them conscientiously and keep the bed weed free will allow you to grow the best beets.

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Choosing varieties:

There are several different varieties of beets, although most people are familiar with the dark red beets. Some of the different varieties are:

  • Detroit Dark Red (52 days to maturity)-classic blood-red color
  • Burpee’s Golden (55 days to maturity)-delicate flavor
  • Chioggia (54 days to maturity)-red and white circles inside the beet root
  • Early Wonder Tall Top (53 days to maturity)-used for leaves rather than roots

Tips for Planting:

Beets can handle frost, but don’t grow well in hot weather. Therefore, plant in spring or fall, when soil temps are around 50 degrees F. Plant in the spring starting from 2-3 weeks before last frost date, until temperatures reach 80 degrees; plant in the fall when the temperature is regularly below 75 degrees. Fall plant 6-8 weeks before first frost date. Beets will mature in 45-65 days. Fall planting is preferred, as it produces a better crop.

To grow the best beets, the garden soil should be loose and sandy, with a pH between 6.2 and 7. Plant in full sunlight, although in hotter areas, they might benefit from some shade. Add potassium (bonemeal) to soil.

Soak seeds overnight to soften the shell and allow for easier germination. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep, 3″ apart, with rows 12-18 inches apart.

Water well and keep the soil moist. Add a Boron supplement once at planting. You can make your own by mixing 1 tbsp of Borax into 6 quarts of water.

Thin the plants to 3″ apart when seedlings are about 3″ tall. The seeds are actually several seeds in one capsule. You should thin the sprouts to one main plant so that it can grow a large beet root. Don’t pull the sprouts, as this will damage the other roots; rather, cut the tops of the unwanted seedlings, and use them in salads.

Companion plant with onions, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, radish and bush beans. Don’t plant with mustard greens and pole beans.

Weed regularly to avoid competition for nutrients. The beet root will show out of the ground as it grows; keep the beetroot covered with mulch.

For growing the best beets, stagger your beet planting every 2-3 weeks to extend the harvest.

Guidelines for Harvest:

Beets can be thought of as 2 crops in one. The beet root, and the beet leaves. All parts of the plant can be eaten.

You can cut beet greens when they are 4-5″ tall. Be sure to leave some leaves for the beet to continue growing. Eat the greens the same day, or within 1-2 days. They have lots of vitamins A, C and E.

Beets are ready for harvest when they are 1-3″ in diameter, about 7-8 weeks after planting. You will be able to see the top of the beet above the soil, and judge the size of the beetroot. Smaller beets are more flavorful. Grab the beet top just above the beet, twist and pull. Or, use a garden fork to lift them out. When you cut the leaves, cut them about 1″ from the beet to avoid beet juice coming from the root. Leave the tail intact until you want to use it.

Storing:

Beets will keep in a cool dark place for 1-3 months. Store them in a box of sand or sawdust. If you are storing them, let them dry, then brush the soil off. If you are using them immediately, wash before using.

Beets can store in refrigerator for 1-3 weeks; beet greens store in a plastic bag for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Beet recipes:

For some examples of beet preparations, try

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Follow these tips and guidelines for growing the best beets and let us know how your garden grows! Also if you have any more tips for growing beets, or beet recipes, let us know in the comment section below!

 

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