Spring Garden Tips

Beets

Beets410px.jpg

Botanical Name

Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris

Hardiness

Annual

Light

Full sun to part shade

Soil

Moist, well-drained

Planting and Care

Beets best germinate in temperature between 50 F to 85 F.

Sow outdoors 30 days before last expected frost; sow seeds 1/2 inch deep, 1 inch apart in rows 12-18 inches apart.

Thin to 1-3 inch when plants are 4 to 5 inches tall. Cut rather than pull seedling to avoid disturbing surrounding plants. Eat the thinned greens by adding to salads or sandwiches.

Successive plant thru late summer. Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Beets perform best and produce better color and flavor in cool weather in soil that is both well weeded and has consistent moisture. Harvest both the roots & the foliage.

Problems

Aphids, leafminers, leaf spot, downy mildew

Varieties to Consider

Ruby Queen - All-America Selections winner, round, uniform shape

Sweetheart - foliage great for greens, very sweet roots

Red Ace - early variety, heat tolerant, sweet flavor

Golden - early golden variety, sweet flavor

Harvesting

Dig or pull beets when the root is full size.

Proper thinning and well-drained soil are important for proper root development. Roots will develop rapidly and should be harvested before they become larger than 3 inches in diameter to avoid becoming tough.

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