How to Grow Beets in your Garden

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How to Grow Beets in your Garden

Beets are a sweet, healthy vegetables rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have the functions of preventing cancer and protecting the heart. Beetroot is easy to grow, and it always ranks in the top 10 home-grown vegetables.

  1. Choose Seeds or Seedlings

It should be available at your local nursery or garden store. You can also buy seeds and grow them in seedling trays earlier.  If planted early, choose a Beet Plant-like Boltardy. The white and gold varieties of beet, on the other hand, take half as long to plant as Boltardy, and are less juicy when mixed into salads, but don’t have that pretty carmine red.

In addition to considering planting time and colour, choose which beet to grow based on your preferred taste.

  1. Choose a Suitable Planting Area

Beets prefer neutral, moist, and fertile soil, which has less lime, and the soil acidity should not be too high (6.5-7.0 is suitable). The soil should be soft and not have too much clay or sand.

However, because beets do not have deep roots, clay soils can sometimes be grown as long as the soil is loosened and organic fertilizer is added (if the soil is low in clay, no organic fertilizer is required). It is best to plant in a place with sufficient light, good ventilation, and a little shade.

If you plan to sow in late fall or early spring, apply granular fertilizer a few weeks before planting and allow the soil to absorb nutrients.

  1. Beets Can Also Be Grown in Plant Bags

If you choose round beets (most are round, long or cylindrical ones are not common), a bag is fine as long as it is 20cm in diameter and depth. Fill grow pots with fluffy multipurpose compost, then spread seeds sparsely over the surface and cover with 2cm of compost.

When the seedlings grow to a height of 2cm, remove the weak seedlings and leave more room for the growth of the seedlings with good growth. The distance between the two seedlings is about 12cm.

  1. If you Plant on the Ground, you Must First Till the Ground

Remove weeds, rubbish, and stones that could interfere with beet growth. To loosen the soil, shovel out a small shallow trench.  If the soil is heavy, it is best to plow in late fall, if not, in early spring.

If planting in the fall, the topsoil does not need to be leveled, as it will also undergo the baptism of winter.  The northern hemisphere should sow after the last frost.

  1. Sow Seeds or Plant Seedlings

Beet seeds are sown at a depth of about 2 cm. Seeds or seedlings should be at least 5-10 cm apart. Rows are easiest to sow. If it is a succession sowing, it can be sown every 14 days. This will replace the harvest of beets.

Maintaining Seedlings

  1. Water daily until the beet seeds sprout

Just a few days after sowing, beet seeds need more moisture to germinate. Seeds draw water from the soil as they develop roots. However, don’t water too much. Otherwise, the beet will grow with many leaves and thin roots, and may only bloom and not bear fruit.

Also, watering too much can also make the beets lose in texture. Once the beets have germinated, just water them every 10-14 days during the dry period. If not very dry, natural rainfall can provide sufficient moisture.

  1. Cut

When the beets have 2cm leaves, place them 10cm apart. That is, the weak seedlings need to be pulled out, leaving the well-grown ones. Some people suggest that two beets should be separated by more than 10cm.

If the land area is sufficient, it can be arranged more generously. Others suggested cutting it out twice. The second time is when the seedlings grow taller. You can choose according to your own situation.

  1. Fertilize

Apply 4-6 liters of organic fertilizer per 10 square meters. Add a thin layer of compost or manure. If the beets are young, you can also add 30 grams of high nitrogen fertilizer per square meter. Watch out for birds and weeds.

If there is enough space, consider adding a protective cover to the beets to prevent small animals from destroying them. Also, hand weeding. Pull out weeds as soon as you see them. Do not use sharp tools, such as hoes, to avoid injuring the beets. Weeding by hand is best.

Harvest and Stock Up 

  1. Harvest beets: When you can see beetroot on the surface, you can roughly estimate its size. Wait until the beetroot grows to the size of a small orange and you can harvest it, it will not taste good if it grows too large. Grasp the beet leaves in one hand and use a small shovel to gently scoop out the beetroot.

Generally, beetroots can be picked 8 weeks after sowing or when they have grown to 2.5 cm in diameter. Many will selectively pick, harvest some crops and keep some. That way, the leftover beets will grow faster. Beetroot ”Reed Root” with a diameter of about 7.5 cm tastes the best.

  1. Leave some beets: You can leave a portion of the beets in the ground until next spring but need protection. Cover them with thick mulch or straw. If the temperature in winter is above zero degrees Celsius, you can open the straw and dig some out in winter.  However, the taste of the beets will be looser after a long time.
  2. Carefully cut off the beet leaves: Don’t cut it all out, you should leave about 5cm. This will not lose juice and retain the best taste and Red Root color. Don’t throw the cut leaves. The leaves can be eaten like spinach. It tastes good!
  3. Save: Rootstocks can be stored for a long time and can survive the winter. Beets should be stored in a dry, frost-free environment in a sanded wooden box. Find a wooden box, put 5cm thick sand on the bottom, then put a layer of beets, then sand, and repeat until the box is full. The sand prevents the beet from sprouting and also keeps its taste.

General Disease Issues For Beet

  • Beet curly top disease Beet curly top virus (BCTV)
  • Bacterial blight Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata
  • Cercospora leaf spot Cercospora beticola
  • Downy mildew Peronospora farinosa
  • Fusarium yellows and root rot
  • Beet western yellows virus

The Best of the Beets Varieties Seeds

Red Ace

  • Hybrid
  • Days to Maturity 50
  • Extra-sweet, tender red roots

Pacemaker III

  • Hybrid
  • Days to Maturity 50

Similar to Red Ace, but taller leaves

Chioggia

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 55

Unique pink and white stripes inside roots ”Golden”

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 55
  • Gold-coloured roots

Sweetheart

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 58
  • Extra-sweet red roots; tall greens; good for storage

Ruby Queen

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 60
  • Uniformly round; bright red; widely adapted

Detroit Dark Red

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 60
  • Uniformly round; dark red; widely adapted

Albina Vereduna

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 60
  • White; very sweet; thick-skinned, good for storage

CYLINDERS

Cylindra

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 55-60
  • 8 inches long; tender red roots

Formonova

  • Open-pollinated
  • Days to Maturity 55-60
  • 6 inches long; tender red roots

Candy-Striped Beets (Shown Above)

Variety to Grow: Chioggia Guardsmark

Slightly flatter than regular beets, this unassuming variety is easy to overlook—until you cut one open. Beneath the unremarkable exterior lies one of the most stunning vegetables on the market. When sliced, these beets reveal eye-catching concentric pink and white rings. Although these look like something you’d find in a candy shop, they have a peppery flavor that complements the sweetness.

Be warned, that cooking can obliterate their contrasting rings. To maintain as much of the zoning as possible, steam or roast them as boiling will cause the red pigment to leach. Pickling is another alternative. What you lose in candy stripes you’ll gain in brilliant pink.

heirloom-beets-golden.jpgGolden Beet

Variety to Grow: Touchmark Golden

With their dark orange skin and bright yellow interior, these beets look a bit like peaches. Milder and sweeter than the red varieties, golden beets are a good choice for people who find beets overpowering. They also add a bright yellow burst to salads or side dishes.

heirloom-beets-white.jpgWhite beets

Variety to Grow: Table beets, not sugar beets

Like the golden varieties, white beets are milder than their red counterparts. These pale beets contrast nicely on the plate when served beside red or pink beets. Just be sure to cook them separately to maintain their colour.

heirloom-beets-bullsblood.jpg

Beet Greens

Variety To Grow: Bulls Blood

Beets and Swiss chard are botanically the same. One is selected for its roots, the other for its ”Leaf Growth” leafy green tops. Bulls Blood provides the best of both. The showy dark burgundy leaves are so dramatic the city of Stratford, Ont. used them in their ornamental planters. While the leaves are lovely to look at, the entire plant makes an excellent salad. Use the tops as the base of a green salad, then sprinkle with thin slices of the small pink- and red-striped roots.

Look Ma, no Stains

Don’t want your hands, clothes, or countertops looking like you just left a crime scene? Try golden or white beets. Since only the red pigment is water-soluble, these paler varieties won’t have you scrubbing or searching for the bleach. On the other hand, water from red beets is a natural way to color Easter eggs.

“Betting” Fussy Eaters

Know someone who doesn’t like beets? Convert them with these beet tricks.

  • Grate them: Skip the cooking. Just peel, grate and toss them raw into a salad. They taste a lot like uncooked carrots.
  • Hide them: Grated raw, golden beets can replace carrots in a carrot cake. You can use red beets, but the colour might give you away. Got cooked beets leftover? Moisten a chocolate cake with them. Replace ½ cup of the fat (oil or butter) with 1/4 cup buttermilk and 1/4 cup pureed cooked beets.
  • Roast them: “Roasting will make a beet lover out of you,” promises Delaney who has converted more than one beet-hater with her roasted beet salad. Her winning dish is simply diced, roasted beets tossed in an orange-juice-based vinaigrette, and topped with fresh chopped mint, and crumbled feta.

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