Deprecated: The called constructor method for WP_Widget in VMenuWidget is deprecated since version 4.3.0! Use __construct() instead. in /home/northern/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4954

Deprecated: The called constructor method for WP_Widget in LoginWidget is deprecated since version 4.3.0! Use __construct() instead. in /home/northern/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4954
Beets | Northern Gardener

Beets (Beta Vulgaris)

Beets are biennial plants that are grown as annuals. At maturity, they form a bulbous root that can be round, cylindrical or flat.

Most of us are aware that beets come in a deep reddish color, however the flesh of the root also comes in a variety of colors such as golden yellow, white as well as other exotic colours.

While the beet is most commonly produced as a root crop, the greens are quite edible (and tasty) on their own.

1: Physical Features
Physical Features: Clump forming, with edible roots and greens.
Height: 20 - 45cm (8 - 18")
Spread: 10 - 30cm (4 - 12")
Varieties: Chioggia, Detroit Dark Red, Cylindra Formanova, Red Ace, Bulls Blood, Boltardy (Bolt resistant).
2: General Info
Nutrition: Good source of Vitamin C, Potassium & Folic Acid.
Usage: Traditionally grown for the roots. Roots can be cooked and eaten, or pickled for storage. Greens are often used in salads, or steamed like spinach.
3: Sowing / Starting
Sowing: Beets are usually sewn directly in the garden. Depending on how far north you are, they can be planted in early spring. In colder areas, warming the soil using a cloche or IRT plastic mulch will prove beneficial. Once seedlings emerge thin out to 5 - 10 cm (2 - 4").
Starting Indoors: Can be started indoors, but it's tricky. Great care must be taken not to disturb the roots when transplanting into your garden. Also, it helps to sew the seeds a cool place (such as a basement) with artificial lights, as beets tend to get leggy when started in warm areas. (Starting seeds in a greenhouse or cloche often yields better results than starting indoors)
Outdoor Site & Soil Preparation: A sunny location is best. Deep sandy soil is best. That said, Beets will grow almost anywhere provided the soil is prepared with some compost and/or fertilizer.
Recommended PH Range: 6.0 - 7.5
Recommended Spacing in Beds: 5 - 10cm (2 - 4")
Good Companions: Carrots, Onions, Kohlrabi, Bush Beans, Cucumbers, Lettuce.
Bad Companions: Pole Beans
Growing in Containers: Beets traditionally do not do well in containers. However, if there is a good reason to grow your beets in a container you should only grow the globe varieties. Beets go woody (or bolt to seed) if they get too much draught, so be extra careful with the watering of your containers. This is a good way to grow beets for greens.
4: Cultivation
Fertilization: Traditionally frown for the roots. Roots can be cooked and eaten, or pickled for storage. There is a bit more, but I don't want to type it here. However I need to make up about 3 lines here to see how it lays out on the page.
Harvesting: Smaller beets can simply be pulled out by their stems. Larger beets should be turned with a garden fork or shovel. The greens can be snipped off all through the summer. However, you should leave ample foliage to nourish the root that is forming. New leaves will form.
Preservation & Storage : Traditionally beets are eaten fresh, or pickled in a solution of sugar and vinegar.
5: Pests & Diseases
Common Pests: Aphids and leaf miners can cause problems.
Diseases: None
Other Issues & Problems: Heart rot is sometimes a problem in soil that is deficient in Boron. Beets can sometimes go to seed before the roots have reached maturity. This is more common in poor soil, or when there is an overly dry growing season.
6: Harvesting, Usage & Storage
Harvesting: Smaller beets can simply be pulled out by their stems. Larger beets should be turned with a garden fork or shovel. The greens can be snipped off all through the summer. However, you should leave ample foliage to nourish the root that is forming. New leaves will form.
Preservation and Storage: Traditionally beets are eaten fresh, or pickled in a solution of sugar and vinegar.
Freezing: Beets can be frozen once they have been cooked. The beet can be frozen in 1 large chunk, however it usually makes more sense to slice or cube it before freezing.