So I just planted my beets the other day, and in celebration I bought some from our local grocery store. I cooked them for about an hour in the oven and then chopped them up with some pears and nuts and put them in some mixed greens. It was a day to remember.
This is my first year growing beets and I decided to grow the Early Wonder variety. It’s a old heirloom variety dating back to pre-1811. Must be good if they’ve been haulin’ them around this long 😉
Here are some facts about our little mediterranean native:
- They are packed full of: potassium, folic acid, manganese, fiber, vitamin a, c, calcium, and iron
- They are biennial- meaning they flower and set seed their second season
- VERY cold hardy.
- Sow directly into the ground, but soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours before placing in the soil. Helps with germination. (Which I didn’t do…shoot)
- Each seed is actually a cluster of 2-6 seeds
- Plants that reach maturity during hot weather will have less color and flavor. Dress your plants with compost and plant in the shade of another plant to secure your chances of a good harvest
- First off, pick a nice sunny location that has well drained soil
- Amend your soil with organic material working it in to a depth of 8-10 inches
- Sow seeds 2-4 inches apart, water well and add a thin layer of dressing. This helps to moderate soil moisture and temperature. *Keep beets watered well and you will have happy gardeners and happy beets*
- Beets require lots of phosphorus to grow healthy large roots. If you run a soil test and you find in lacks in phosphorus give your plants a side dressing of bonemeal or rock phosphate. (Favored pH range for beets is 6.0-7.0)
- Stop sowing seeds once the temperatures reach about 75 degrees, but start again 8 or so weeks before the first fall frost, for a late season harvest
- Beets taste best when they are 1.5-2.5 inches in diameter. After that they start to lose flavor and the texture becomes unappetizing
- Beet greens can be harvested as soon as plants are an inch or two high. Older greens are best when steamed or sauteed.
- When beets are ready to harvest, pull or dig them out then remove the tops by twisting them or cutting them off, being careful to leave a few inches of stem on the root to keep them from bleeding and losing their moisture. They can be stored this way, in the fridge for up to a week
- For long term storage, layer the beets in damp sawdust or sand and keep in a moist cold root storage until ready to use