How to Grow Organic Beets
What are Beets?
Beets are probably the most underrated and undervalued vegetable, aside from Brussel Sprouts. They tend to get a bad rap outside of the culinary world, with many children and adults wrinkling their nose at the mere mention of their name.
However, with their suttle earthiness, and sometimes sweet flavor (yes I said beets can be sweet), beets make a fantastic addition to a cole slaw, or raw veggie salad, or even as a base for soup.
One of the best ways to appreciate the flavor of beets and the beet greens is to grow them yourself. Growing beets organically, not only helps the environment, but it also protects you and your loved ones from the harmful effects of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Certified Organic Sticker
What Does Organic Mean?
What does growing something organically mean? We see the words "Organic" everywhere, but what does it actually mean?
According to wikipedia, the legal definition to be certified organic means:
product must be grown and manufactured in a manner that adheres to standards set by the country they are sold in
In the U.S. the governing body over organic certification rules is the National Organic Program. For foods to be considered organic, they must be free of artificial food additives, GMO's, and not have been grown using non-organic chemicals.
What are the different types of beets?
The first thing you need to do when growing your own beets organically, is to choose the variety of beet that you want to grow. Beets are typically identified by their shape: tapered or globe.
There are too many varieties to list in this hub, but I have mentioned a few of my favorite from each category.
Burpee's Golden - not your typical looking beet, as it has an orange skin and a yellow flesh, but the Burpee's Golden is a great variety. The beets are great in salads and/or cooked and the leaves can also be used as greens. An added benefit is that they do not bleed when cut, so less staining.
Detroit 2 Little Ball - an odd name, but these little beets are perfect for pickling and canning. They have a smooth skin, dark flesh, and great flavor.
Cheltenham Mono - is a great canning variety as it is perfectly shapped for slicing. Medium in size, they are also resistant to bolting.
Cylindrica - has a great shape for slicing and canning. It is slightly larger around then the Cheltenham Mono, but has great flavor.
How to Grow Beets
Depending on what zone you live in, you can sow the first crops of beets in later winter or early spring. We have had better success growing beets in hills and raised beds after the temperature of the soil is above 48 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beets do best in well drained, light soil, thus the reason we use hills and raised beds for ours. Beets do not like acidic soil so if the pH is less than 6.5 than liming will be needed.
Beets also do not far well in drought, so you need to vigilantly water consistently during any type of drought. If beets are not watered often enough then the roots will become woody and can potentially split.
If you are planning on canning your beets, than pick ever 3rd plant or so when they are the size of a golf ball. Leaving the rest to mature to use in salads and everyday cooking.
Beets are a great growing partner for carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onions, and several varieties of beans.
Medicinal Benefits of Beets
Beets are a great source of iron. When I was pregnant with both my children, I became severely anemic and my Obgyn suggested eating beets daily.
Recent findings have shown that drinking beet juice regular can help control the spread of cancer.
Beets have also been known to be used for treatment of gastritis.
How to Grow Links
- How do you Grow Garlic
How to grow garlic? Tips and how to's of growing garlic. When to plant and when to harvest garlic.
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