An easy to grow vegetable that helps extend your growing season…and is that ever bad?
Beets can be planted outdoor as soon as the ground can be worked, and planted every 2 to 3 weeks until mid-summer( you can plant until temperatures don’t exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
The plant is very tolerant of frost and near freezing temperatures, making it a good crop for early in the spring and into the fall. When planting for the fall sow them in mid-summer and until 4 to 6 weeks before first frost date, or, in zone 9 and warmer, it can be sowed as a winter crop if planted from early to late fall.
They are very easy to grown from seed, grow quickly, and can be used both as a green and as a root.
Seeds will germinate in 5 to 8 days in warmer weather, but may take 2 to 3 weeks in soil temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To speed up germination, soak in water for 24 hours prior to planting.
Plant the seeds in full sun. The soil should be 6 to 7 pH but can tolerate a more alkaline pH greater than 7. They can tolerate soil with little fertilizer, but will do better in well prepared fertile soil.
Plant ½ “deep, 1-2” apart, with rows about 1 foot apart. Each seed is actually a cluster of 2 to 3 seeds, so thin them to 3 to 4 inches apart when the plant is about 4 inches tall; be gentle so you don’t disturb the roots.
Keep the soil moist, and mulch and water regularly, about generally once per week. Be very gentle when weeding to ensure you do not harm the roots, and only grow them in soil that rocks and pebbles have been removed from.
They are pretty hardy plants, but can be victims of Flea Beetles, Leaf Miners, Leaf Spot, Cercospora, Leaf Hoppers, and Mosaic Vireis.
You can expect to harvest about 2 months after planting, approximately 55 to 70 days. Harvest when golf ball size or larger; Leaving the root in the ground can result in a tough and woody root. Gently loosen the soil around the root and remove from the ground. The leaves can be harvested anytime starting with thinning. Take 1 to 2 mature leaves when they are 6” tall; after that they will get tough.
Store in a root cellar after brushing off any soil, and then burying in layers (but not touching), and surround with sand or sawdust.
They can also be stored in the refrigerator, or picked, frozen, canned, or roasted. ‘
This is truly a stress-free plant to add to our garden!