Beets grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. Consider adding a good organic compost to the soil before planting as they need an ample amount of phosphorus to produce large, healthy roots. Transplant outside in a sunny location spacing plants 4-6” apart in rows 12-18” apart. For best root quality, it is important to keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. Adding a layer of organic mulch around your plants will keep soil temperatures cool, help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.
If you plan on eating the nutritious beet greens, you may need to provide a row cover to protect the foliage from leaf miners, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and other potential pests.
Beets beta vulgaris
Deep scarlet leaves. Very sweet red roots.
Harvest dark, red-purple foliage in 35 days for
baby leaf tops. Harvest roots 60 days.
Early Wonder Tall Top
Open pollinated. 3-4” deep, red roots with
Early, large, red veined leaves. Best beet for greens.
Pickles well. Vigorous growth in cool soils. Harvest 45 days.
Beet culture –
Beets are cold-hardy. They are biennial, meaning they flower and set seed their second year of growth. They don’t appreciate hot temperatures and may bolt prematurely during long, hot, dry spells.
Beet roots contain potassium, folic acid, manganese, and lots of fiber. The edible beet greens offer vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Beets contain more sugar than starch. Roasting, grilling, and other simple cooking techniques bring out their sweet flavors.
Harvest roots after they reach 1” in diameter. They will remain flavorful until they measure 3-4”in diameter. Harvested beet roots can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge. Cut off the tops leaving 1-2” of the stems to keep them from ‘bleeding’. Stored this way they should last about a week.
Beet greens can be harvested at any time and used as baby greens in salad mixes. The older greens are better served steamed or sautéed. Beet greens don’t store well and should be used as fresh as possible.