Growing Organic Beets
Beets, what a great food: pickled beets are a personal favourite but I also enjoy them steamed and served with a pork chop and some fresh green beans.
Borscht is another favourite dish. I do not make it often, usually once a year when the local beets are available and I can pick up a 10 pound bag for very little money.
In fact beets, in season, are often so cheap to buy that I will not include them in my garden, unless I have extra room. Over the years I have gardened on my balcony, in shared backyard gardens and community gardens. Beets can be grown in a small garden so don’t let my choices deter you from including them in your home vegetable garden.
In one shred garden we had considerable rooms and as all the gardeners loved beets we decided to grow them. We were all organic gardeners so the crop was organically grown and plentiful.
You can start your beets indoors, if the growing season is short or if you just want to get a jump on things. Beets can be set out about a month before the last frost; however, if you decide to do this be sure to cover them at night.
Beets can go woody in hot weather so by starting early you are improving the quality of the crop.
The beet itself is not the only crop but the young, tender beet leaves are also tasty and nutritious. You can grow for both the beetroot and the leaves and get a bigger return on your investment.
Buy varieties that are early bloomers. Beet- Bull’s Blood, for example produces dark red-purple tops that have a sweet flavour. The baby leaf tops appear in about 35 days and the beet root about 20 days later.
Beets like soil with a pH between 6.0 to 6.8, and some people say the best results are obtained when the seed is directly planted into the soil rather than starting them indoors. We planted direct into the soil, as soon as, it felt warm enough to the touch. However, if you plan to plant earlier be sure to have a row cover or something else to keep them warm at night, handy. Frost can affect production.
If planting seed, be sure to do so as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep and in rows 12 to 18 inches or more apart depending on the method of cultivation.
The seeds need to be spaced one inch apart and in the rows. It is time to thin the plants when the seedlings are one to two inches tall. There should be about one plant per inch. As they grow, thin to about three to four inches between plants.
Succession planting can be done at three week intervals throughout the season.
Beets are a fine addition to your home vegetable garden; you do not need a lot of room to grow them and they provide both greens and a root vegetable.
beets in sink
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Learn how to grow Beets using our beet growing guide. Growing tips to improve your Beets harvest. Find out what companion plants to plant with your Beets.
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