I've tried on a number of occasions to grow beets but have never been successful. I purchased some the other day in the supermarket and they were wonderful, but I couldn't help wondering if they had been sprayed with pesticides/fungicides, etc.
So, I would really like to grow my own.
Please tell me the kind of soil, fertilizer regime, watering, and the name of the ones you have found grow well.
I think they are planted in late summer - is that correct?
I have read that each seed is actually a cluster of seeds - do they need to be separated?
I also like the leaves, so if one type of beet is good for both roots and leaves, please tell me that, too.
Okay - anything you guys/gals can tell me about growing beets will be a great help.
We plant Red Ace. They back suburb tops & beets.
Ours are planted as soon as the ground is workable in the spring. We use an Earthway seeder. It spaces them out somewhat. Use seeds as they come in the package.
As we are a market garden, we start pulling them when the beets are marble size. That thins them & also makes for good, tender greens.
We plant all the beets at one time & as we harvest all summer long, they continue to get bigger so by fall there are beets about 2 to 3 inches that are just right for canning or freezing.
As far as fertilizer goes, just a 10-10-10 garden fertilizer is adequate. We do have a drip tape on the rows & water if the rain don't come.
Beets are easy. In North Carolina, perhaps March would be appropriate. It is one one those sow as early as the ground can be worked vegetables. While they do prefer a neutral soil ph above 6, they are not overly picky. If other veggies will grow they usually will also. Can't stand heat so they need to be harvested before summer. They need soft soil, so a low list (ridge of soil) is preferable. Place the seeds about 3 inches apart and about a quarter inch deep. If your soil has a tendency to crust, you can cover them with potting mix or something similar. Some folks even use sand. Using a row cover helps keep the soli moist which is essential for germination. In my youth we laid planks over the row, but you have to constantly check, because they need to be removed when the plants start to emerge. As for varieties, My favorite is an oldtime, the Blood Turnip. Not very pretty but has a great taste. Some of the newer ones are prettier and more uniform. Have have good luck with Kestrel and Merlin. The long beets Cylindra, Formanova perform well, but don't have the taste that I like. Worst for me is Detroit Dark Red.
Fall Beets are possible, but require more effort. Biggest problem is germination in hot soil. They take in excess of two months, which means planting in late summer in my area.
There are monogerm varieties which have a single seed, Johnny's carries one. They are no problem to thin, so for me not worth the extra cost of seed.
Ditto what F-dill said about growing and sowing in NC. They don't do well here in the heat of summer so I do an early crop and some years a fall crop. The fall crop sometimes won't make big roots but I love the tops anyway.
Honeybee, I think you mentioned you'll have raised/boxed beds next year..I bet you could shade them and keep the soil fairly most and have decent end-of-summer germination to get an earlier start on your fall beets. I've done like F-dill said, using boards or the like to shade the row your seeds are in to get decent germination. I've laid down gutters, boards, light layer of straw, remay, etc, anything to keep the direct sun of the soil and to hold in moisture.
By the way, Bernie, how hot do your summers get? I know you have a shorter summer season than us but don't know how hot you can get there. (I sure remember those snow pics of yours though! Yikes!)
Honeybee said, "I have read that each seed is actually a cluster of seeds - do they need to be separated?"
They don't need to be but I have several friends who insist on beating their seeds nearly to death! They put the seeds in a cloth or pillow case, then hammer them as if they had a grudge against them. Apparently it breaks up the clusters and helps for faster germination and less thinning. I've tried it but didn't notice a big difference.
Johnny's sells "decorticated" seeds now, which apparently are treated similarly, with the seeds not so much naturally clustered. Again, I don't think I ever saw a difference in those and non-decorticated seeds.
Varieties: I've grown Red Ace (nice beet), Detroit Dark Red (so-so with both decent tops and bottoms), Chioggia (love the flavor, those beautiful stripes but wish they'd keep them when cooked). I'm sure I've tried other varieties but will have to go look up the others in my planting records.
I sure am glad I read this thread. I always have great luck with beets planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. But, when I tried to plant a fall crop, sowing in August, no luck... they didn't even sprout! Now I know that they need cool soil to sprout, so that means no way in Indiana unless I chance it and sow in late September and we have a long, mild fall.
I'll just have to plant a larger crop next spring. Also, from our experience, it's better to freeze beets than can. All the methods of canning just cook the bejezees out of them and they end up pale and flavorless. Freezing them is the next best thing to fresh!
And, the beet greens are wonderful. (I think most any variety of beet's greens will do.) Saute them like spinach, with a little onion and maybe bacon, drizzle a little vinegar (balsamic vinegar is wonderful) and serve with or without butter. Yum!
We get into the 90's kind of often. Maybe 6 or 7 days a summer over 100º.
Beautiful blizzard raging today! Can't see over a couple hundred feet.
We are planning our trip after KY RU in Sept. If you don't make it there, we are coming to your place. I will bring you a nice bunch of fresh beets.
Can't beat those buttered stems & baby beets, or pickled beets!
"Beautiful blizzard raging today"!? Hah! You sound like me, Bernie, even though it's been unseasonableycold as cubes here for quite a while I've been telling folks how much I'm enjoying it. After our super-duper hot summer I'm grateful to witness the other spectrum of the temperature.
HoosierGreen, I like those beet greens, too, often throwing in some crumbled feta cheese at the last minute of cooking.
As for the washed out beets from cooking/canning, I don't seem to have that problem, maybe because I make pickled beets and those can be done in a water bath as opposed to a pressure canner which might make them overly-soft. I also tend to bake beets rather than boil them and they keep their color. (Only the Chioggia beets, when cooked, lose their multi-colored look, as I mentioned above.) By the way, how long do you blanch your beets before freezing? I think I'd like to try that next year.
Bernie, I have wanted to make it back to the Round up for several years. All I can say is maybe this year will be different. Wish me luck!
Shoe (off to pull in firewood before the rains move in)
Oh, Horseshoe, PICKLED beets are another matter. I do love them, and put up many quarts of them every year, but never enough! Yes, the water bath is easier on beets than pressure canning, which does bleach them out. Pickled beets are so-o-o expensive in the stores, I really save putting up my own. Got to plant more beets next year, for eating fresh, pickling and freezing.
(Feta cheese with beet greens will make my wife happy, too.)
We only eat the stems, not the leaves. They are yummy!
All state highways in SW Minnesota are closed. International airport in Minneapolis is closed. That don't happen often. 12" of snow in Twin Cities area. Not that much snow here but a whiteout from blowing snow.
DW says to freeze beets, cook them until fork tender, cool a bit, slip the skins off & bag them up.
Right. Meant to write that in response to Horseshoe's question. Cook like always until tender, slip the skins off, slice or dice them, bag 'em, and freeze them. They taste as fresh as can be when you warm them up. We had some this evening while the freezing rain pelted the house. (Snow coming!)
Wow, all these great suggestions about beets. Thanks to all who have replied :)
I looked up the ones I planted in 2009 - Bulls Blood.
I'll have to check the "days to maturity" for the ones y'all have listed to see if I can squeeze some in next spring and have them ready before the hot weather sets in.
I like the leaves and stems cooked in a little vegetable oil with some chopped shallots, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
The roots I cook in enough water to cover until tender. Strain off the water and let cool enough to handle. Run them under cold water and wash off the skins. Slice them and top with the prepared leaves/stems - yummy!
HoneybeeNC - what problems have you had with your beets in the past? Maybe we give you more tailored advice. Another reason I grow my own is that there is a is a big cost markup here on fresh beets. I don't mind thinning - I try to plan it out so my first thinning is spaced for baby beets and the baby beets leave things spaced for medium sized beets. My main problem is leaf miners. I succession plant small numbers of beets to let me know when it is safe to plant to plant spinach and Swiss chard.
pollengarden - thanks for your interest, I appreciate it.
The beets come up, but never get going. Actually, that's about it!
Everythingn else I've ever grown does well. When I lived in Tennessee, the beets would not grow there either. I had a neighbor who had more beets than she needed, but her bean crop failed. I had lots of beans. So we picked each others beets/beans.
After reading these posts, I suspect it's just too hot here for them.
I'll buy some seed and try setting it as early as possible and see what happens.
Pollengarden, I also have a terrible problem with leaf miners. Last year I used row covers and still had them, so I just give up. If all I wanted was the beets that wouldn't be a big problem, but without the greens, it's just not the same!
Thanks for the tips on freezing beets, folks. I suppose I can try that sometime, only after I get my yearly allotment of pickled beets out of the way though. *grin
Honeybee, it gets pretty hot here, too, so if you have workable ground in your area mid-February or so I think that would be a good time to get your beets sown. I'm one of those who tend to soak beet seed, sometimes for several days. I wonder if you need some phosphorus in your soil to help "bulb" them up better...
Jo, those leaf miners can be a pain cus the larvae overwinter in the soil and will come right up under your row cover. Hopefully you can move your beet growing area to a new area. Most pesticides won't have an effect on them and the ones that do will have a bigger effect on your good bugs. Friends of mine say BioNeem does wonders for them against leaf miners though, acting as a repellent as well as an eventual killer. Maybe you'll have good results with that.
Shoe- I just grew beets one time in that area. Are the larvae there anyway and only get in certain crops? My garden is only 3 years old- I created it when I moved here in spring '08, so don't have much history with it.
Colorado had hot summers and cold winters both. Like I mentioned, I plant beets a few at a time until the leaf miners seem to be past their peak. Then I go ahead and plant spinach and chard. Basically - between the leaf miners and the heat - beets, spinach, and swiss chard end up being a fall crop. The last sowing usually does best and partially winters over. So in addition to trying an early planting, I'd recommend a late one. I do "Harvard" (sweet and sour) beets. I use my beet recipe on other things too like summer squash.
You can harvest a few from each plant as they grow with no noticeable harm, from my experience. The thinnings provide lots of leaves and yummy baby beets, too. As the beets mature, you will have lots and lots of nice large leaves to use. They are delicious and very nutritious.
I've grown beets for the last two seasons. Direct sowed seeds in my raised bed for Bulls Blood and Chioggia around October/mid-November (next time, I'll sow around the end of September or when it first starts getting consistently cool). It took them awhile to germinate, but once they did, they took off.
Only problem I had was not thinning them enough (didn't know), and the roots didn't get as big as they could've. But, I made up for that when Aunt Beatrix cooked the beet greens for me -- and I've been chasing the leaves ever since.
I still love the pickled beet bottoms (Aunt Bea taught me how), but, unless you've had the tops and some of the stems (rough chopped) sauteed in a little olive oil with some garlic and onions, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar (to cut any bitterness), you don't know what you've been missing!
Oh, Country Gardens, they are good both ways. Love onion and garlic. I even sometimes add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the beet greens. (Notice that GymGirl didn't use butter either.). We fix beet greens a little differently every time. Even guests that say they don't like beets rave over the greens!
It's a CREOLE thing (for me), and a CAJUN thing (for others).
It's called a "trinity," and southern cooks rarely eliminate it from recipes.
The Trinity = Onions, Celery and Bell Pepper. The Trinity as they are known, are the beginning of many a fine dish here in South Louisiana. ...ALWAYS onions and bell pepper. Most times add celery. Sometimes add garlic...
Agreed! Rock on Mayberry! (But not too loud after 10:00 cus it might upset Otis's sleep down at the jail cell. And you know how Barnie gets.)
Shoe (who just brought in his prized red oak for the wood stove tonight instead of the poplar/gum/softwood mix. Brrrr...too windy and the thermometer's red line is headin' for the lower teens tonight!)
I use leaves and stems when the beet (or turnip) has enough to spare. If I have the time and ambition, I remove the stem and main leaf vein from the leave, chop them into shorter pieces and start them cooking first, then add the leaf greens. If I don't have the time, I either cut off all the stems and discard, or I cook leaf & stem whole. This means that when the stems are tender, the leaves will be slightly over-cooked. The way my mother cooked them was: what ever was ripe and ready that day usually ended up together. Maybe onions but maybe not.
I'm wishing you luck. I'm kinda sad cuz my window for cole crops has just about closed on me. Didn't have time to sow the seeds for seedlings since I was in the process of relocating. But, I'm settled in now, and moving on to the spring tomatoes and bell peppers!
I Spent hours last evening sorting through seed packets, preparing to WS my tomatoes and peppers, and mapping out a plan for the other veggies I'd like to grow this next season.
My target plant out date for the tomatoes is February 19 (6 WEEKS from seeds!). My cutoff date to set out tomato seedlings is March 19th. If it's not planted out by then, it's not gonna happen before the stinkbug infestation sets in. I'm thinking I may try to put some netting of tightly woven, breatheable voile or tulle over my maters this season, to see if it would keep the stinkbugs off. I could shake the vines to get the pollen flowing...hmmmmmmm...
We grow beets here sowing in September and finishing the last of them in July. August is too hot. We use spinosad to control leaf miners and row covers help keep the beet leaf rollers away. If leaf spot is a problem, a copper/sulfur preventative spray will help. Our favorite varieties with customers are Bolo, Red Ace and Kestrel. We also grow Touchstone Gold, sweeter and less earthy tasting with beautiful green leaves and yellow stems.
I like beets either pickled or roasted with other root vegetables, but I think the leaves taste like dirt (and swiss chard too).
I'm hoping to have all the transplants out between February 19th and March 19th at the latest. They're all long-season heirlooms, and by mid-June the heat and the stinkbugs have moved in. I won't have space enough to leave them out longer than June, cause I'll be shifting gears and starting seeds for my cole crops.
I guess my house that stays on the cool side will be coming in handy for seed-starting!
Quoting:I guess my house that stays on the cool side will be coming in handy for seed-starting!
Indeed it will.
I start my cole crops around the end of July - although I didn't last year (2010) because it was too darn hot! Thankfully we still have broccoli in the freezer from the 2009/10 winter - we started out with 75 heads!
I am allergic to plain old lettuce. I like all fresh garden greens, some taste better than others, but I'm not one for wild greens. When I was a kid, we had a neighbor die from eating Rhubarb greens; they were growing next to a ditch between our houses, not in her yard. That made a big impression on me.
I dismantled my plant table because I needed another bookcase. My plan was to build a better one - I guess I'd better get going on that project.
The beets from the Farmers Market in the fridge crisper are growing leaves, does that count? No leaf-miners so far ...
My most successful beet harvest was last year when I underplanted my snow and sugar snap peas with Bull's Blood beets. Maybe it was the nitrogen provided by the peas? I don't know, but they grew like gangbusters. My pea vines got so heavy that they pulled down their trellis and covered some of the beets. When I cleaned the bed and pulled up the hidden beets some of them were softball sized. I think beets thrive on neglect. I always direct sow with EB Stone Organic Seed Start and don't ever fertilize after that. I do add an inch or so of new compost every season. This year I planted Chiogga beets in late October, not near the peas (which are producing right now) and they're growing well enough. I guess we'll see...
JSkrypt - that was a good hint about growing peas with beets. I think I'll give that a try because I plan to sow both in Februray.
I'll have to learn to neglect some of the things I grow! I'm such a fusspot when it comes to gardening - I keep everything watered, fertilized and weeded to such a degree that I think I sometimes kill them with kindness!
I love them both, swiss chard and beets! I cook the stems and leaves of both. All they really need is salt, pepper, and butter. But I agree with someone above who mentioned the trinity of bell pepper, onion, and celery. It is wonderful to have that going in the pan first. I also grow my own celery and onions year round. People think I am silly to grow celery when it is so cheap in the stores here. But it ain't as cheap as walking out your back door to get it! Plus, I like to use some of the leaves and the stores have them all removed. I also collect seed from my swiss chard and beets. I try not to let them both go to seed at the same time though. And celery produces so much seed I'll never run out!
This year I'd like to try some of the golden beets I've seen, yum.
It also works great on scale, especially the cottony scale that attacks hibiscus trees down here. It doesn't hurt lady bugs, soldier beetles or lacewings that I have noticed. It has minimal effect on cucumber beetles, but works great on beet leafrollers. I can now grow beets for market that have nice tops!
It will kill fleas if sprayed on them (they're active very early in the morning).
Oh right! I forgot to mention that. But beets don't have flowers, so there shouldn't be any honeybees on them. We always spray flowering things like squash and cucumbers in the evening, just before dark in order to preserve the bees but if the plants don't have flowers it's not a critical issue.
Same goes for neem, toxic to bees.
The pic is from my 2009 fall attempt. First time I ever ate the beet green tops and I've been after them ever since. No 2010 fall garden, so I'll be going after some again with my 2011 Fall/Winter garden, and learning from you this season! Keep me posted!
P.S. Pillbugs and snails like to munch on the leaves. Have your SLUGGO PLUS ready to sprinkle. That stuff is pretty $, but it WORKS! It doesn't take a lot to do the trick. I would sprinkle around the perimeter, and then do a gentle sprinkling within the bed. You shouldn't have a problem after that.
Your beets will definitely need to be thinned, to allow them to grow to proper maturity. Otherwise, they'll crowd each other and the roots won't get big. Of course, if you only want greens, then no need to thin (too much...)
The best recommended soil temps for beets is 50-75º, so although they can germ at lower temps optimum germination will happen faster at an average of 60 or 65. I sowed some beets on the 22nd, stacked the trays on a heat mat in the greenhouse and several days later the tray that was directly on the mat had germination; the mat was set to 65º. I was shocked to see they germed that fast.
If you have a digital food thermometer that works for checking your soil. I have two, one for the kitchen and one for the garden. I like the probe types that give an instant read-out. I think I got mine pretty cheaply, $12.00 if I remember correctly. (I cook a lot of chicken and rely on one for that perfect never-overcook-poultry!)
Hope this helps.
Shoe (who actually has some seedlings outside, basking in the sun!)
Aw shucks, maybe sitting them on your water heater would be warmer.
Course now that I think of it, some years back I would germinate seeds in my oven. It was the kind of oven that had a light inside, I could put a couple trays in there, turn on the light (NOT the gas!) close the door and it was plenty warm enough to germinate many seeds. I wonder if you have that kind of oven. It worked like a charm for me!
Shoe - this morning there were several new shoots. YAY! There was also one seedling that had died :(
I'm guessing it's "damping off". I usually sprinkle a thin layer of vermiculite on top of the soil after I sow seeds, but I forgot this time, darn it!
I sowed some broccoli seeds yesterday, and this time, I remembered the vermiculite!
I noticed the interior of our house was a little warmer this morning. The "garden room" faces East, so it gets early morning sunshine. I have the lights on for 16 hours beginning at 9 pm to help keep the seedlings warmish overnight.
Thanks for all your help. If I don't get beets this spring it certainly won't be for the want of trying. I'm taking notes, because I plan to grow more beets this fall.
I've always grown beets in the fall/winter. Direct sowed in a small raised bed and lightly covered. Then, waited forever for the seedlings to "declare." I think I've always sown the seeds around November, but I've since learned I should start them in September. Seems they settle into the soil until the temperature is right for them to peep (declaring with attitude...) Then, they take off. If I ever get around to thinning them in the future, I might actually have a nice batch. But, I have enough beet greens to keep me happy.
P.S. They are pillbug and snail magnets, so arm yourself with a perimeter of Sluggo Plus, and a sprinkle some in the bed as well.
Hope you get those beets. You're working awfully hard!
Thanks, Gymgirl. I have September 16th marked on my "to do" list for sowing beet seeds outdoors - although I might start them indoors if it's really hot outside at that time. The inside of the house will be cooler.
Thanks for the tip regarding snails and pillbugs I don't have too many of the former, but of the latter I have more than my fair-share! Sluggo-Plus will work if it doesn't rain!
Quoting:You're working awfully hard!
I go into the "garden room" every few hours to see how they're doing - I'm like a mother hen!
One note of caution: Beets don't like to be transplanted, and usually don't grow well when they are thinned and replanted. They might produce some edible greens, but the root is very sensitive to being "uprooted". If you do try to replant after thinning, be sure to water well the night before and water well after transplanting.
HoosierGreen - thanks for your very timely tip. I was thinking of trying to separate some of the beets next week. Each has one or two seedlings. Do you think it would be better to leave them alone? I'm thinking they will be able to form two beets - nature must have made them that way for a reason! Although I like the greens, I prefer the roots.
Your reminder about making sure they are watered well before and after transplanting is a good tip, too. I always make a point of doing so.
If beets are not thinned when young, they will form smaller and misshapened roots. You could wait until they are the size of marbles, then thin them and cook the thinnings, tops and all. They are delicious and look so pretty when cooked that way. "Baby" vegetables are all the rage in restaurants and command a premium price!
The beet seeds are actually a seed capsule containing many seeds. Probably an evolutionary thing when originally beets were more tops than bottoms, before being selectively bred for "big bottoms". But the thinnings do make a healthy and delicious meal, especially when gently sauteed in butter or olive oil, then drizzled with a good balsamic vinegar. Yum! It'll be a few months before I can eat them here in frozen Indiana, but they are worth the wait.
Calalily - my seedlings are still under fluorescent tubes. I'll set them outside to harden off once they get about 2" tall. I didn't sow too many seeds this time. I'll grow more in the fall when there will be much more room in the garden once the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and beans are finished.
Nice website, Honeybee! Way to go! And you sure got your share of snow over your way, too!
(By the way, your site mentions you are "organic" but I see you use Miracle-Gro and triple superphosphate, neither being considered organic. You might want to post a disclaimer on those so others won't be inadvertently mislead.)
Well, I like the idea of promoting/teaching organic, especially if emphasizing "soil health". That's why I mentioned doing a disclaimer about those two ingredients. I think you could use your site as a great teaching tool to others, giving lots of guidance, mentioning the use of both organic and non-organic, etc, then let others choose. You have quite a bit of knowledge and experience to easily teach. Could be fun, ya know!
And yep, I heard about the snow...what a winter we're all having this year!
I will be expanding the web site as time passes. Once in awhile I get an idea and quickly write it down - unfortunately my best ones seem to arrive just as I'm falling asleep, and by morning they're gone!
I could turn on the light and scribble, but I don't think hubby would approve.
Honeybee, OT to the thread but- I heard about a light up pen and wish I could find one, I really haven't shopped. But I so feel for you on those nighttime ideas! Sometimes I can get enough of a scribble in the dark that I remember...)
Your beets look super!
How comparable are your temps to Atlanta, Georgia? I have a young cousin that way who's getting all excited about Dave's Garden, and guess whose wing she wants to fly under? But, I know NOTHING about Zone 7b and thereabouts.
So, could you kinda take us both under YOUR wing, and keep me posted on your planting schedule? She says she usually plants tomatoes out at the beginning of May -- which is when I'll start harvesting mine!
I'm trying to help her set up an eBucket and container garden and get all her seeds going so she can start her springtime? garden.
Lemme know if you can help us with the planting schedule in your neck of the country!
Honeybee, you have inspired me on the beets! Those pictures make me really want to have some beets. I'm going to try a variation of something Shoe suggested. I'm going to put a small trench down one of my rows, then fill that with potting mix. Then I'll plant the beet seeds, water, and cover. The potting mix will prevent the problem I usually have, which is a hard crust forming after any sort of moisture. Once sprouted, the normal garden soil should support the beets just fine.
HoosierGreen wrote:One note of caution: Beets don't like to be transplanted, and usually don't grow well when they are thinned and replanted. They might produce some edible greens, but the root is very sensitive to being "uprooted". If you do try to replant after thinning, be sure to water well the night before and water well after transplanting.
I have successfully split apart many beets with good results. Even last year, I bought a sixpack of 'Bull's Blood' and it also worked to my adavntage in the ornamental gatden as well as being able to eat them. I grew others from seed with equal success splitting them apart when they were small.
Evelyn - I am so glad you posted about your success splitting beets. I've divided each of mine as they have produced their true leaves and, so far, they seem to be doing well. I just hope they produce beets as well as leaves.
I think that HoosierGreen was emphasizing the necessity of keeping them moist. If they dry out, there may be problems. So that is good advice from him as well. Of course, that is good advice in any transplanting.
However, I would not try to transplant carrots, unless just for the sake of saving seed since it is a biennial.
I'm eagerly watching this thread and your progress because I've had the same troubles as you with beets. They would sprout, make a couple of true leaves and then stall out. Previously I've planted in the fall, so this time I'm trying in the spring. I'm in Atlanta, so I direct sowed them around Valentines Day. They have sprouted but don't have true leaves yet. (Well SOME of them have sprouted anyway). I swore that this would be my last attempt, but I never considered transplanting them. I had always heard that root crops don't like it. But I'm excited by the idea that they may be able to get an indoor head start and that may make them successful for me! I can grow turnips, diakon, radishes, but beets and rutabaga have stumped me. Wishing you the best success!
By the way, Linda, you can tell your cousin that she can plant her tomatoes around April 15 in Atlanta. I also plant eggplant, peppers, etc. around then. Wait until May for things that like heat, like squash, cucs, okra, beans. Cool Crops by Valentines day (direct sow root crops or transplant brassicas. Fall stuff started from seed by July 4 - transplants before Labor day.
Hope that helps!
Fingers crossed about the beets for everyone!
Susan, you are correct in saying root crops don't like to be transplanted, but I figured I had nothing to lose in trying to do so with beets. The ones I have already set-out look good, but don't seem to be growing. I'm giving them to the end of March, and if I'm not successful this time around, I'll have to scratch my head some more, and come up with another solution.
Linda, Susan is correct, the time-table I gave your cousin also says the middle of April to set out tomato plants.
HoneybeeNC wrote:Susan, you are correct in saying root crops don't like to be transplanted, but I figured I had nothing to lose in trying to do so with beets. The ones I have already set-out look good, but don't seem to be growing. I'm giving them to the end of March, and if I'm not successful this time around, I'll have to scratch my head some more, and come up with another solution.
No need to scratch your head. Just give them enough time, as they are verrry slooow to start. Once it warms up a little they should take off fine. Just try and wait it out, then you won't be sorry.
Update - the beets are starting to put on more leaves. I'm uncovering them during the days I'm working outside so I can keep the birds from pecking at them.
All beets I started from seed have flourished, so I'm glad my thinning techniques seem to be working. I still have some to transplant into the garden, but they are hanging out in the porch for a few days to harden off first.
Now for a question: Will the swollen roots develope above or below the ground?
Just read most of this thread. Making me so sad I didn't get to plant my winter garden! I love beets, their greens and turnips, chard, kale, arugula, leaf lettuces. I have a few snow peas started and some brussel sprouts that I put in pots. And I have to get my beds ready for the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant I just bought.
Your beets are beautiful! I hope you enjoy them! Janet in W Houston
I have beet mania at my place. Grabbed this picture early this morning. Evelyn is right, once they start, they take off. Roasted beets with olive oil, garlic and balsamic, feta cheese at the end! To die for...
Honeybee, those beets are Early Wonder. I also planted Detroit Dark Red is another bed. This link says you can plant beets now through August. Hummmm, probably not in Phoenix though. Mine were a winter crop. And we had some serious cold snaps here this winter.
I finally had a chance to take a picture of my beets. You can see that I need to thin them! You can also see how the soil has a high clay/silt content and crack when dry. I watered this area two days ago...
Edited to add: This double row is about 30 feet long. I hope to have enough beets to can several dozen pints of pickled beets.
Okay, so from reading this, I messed up and my beets aren't going to grow, because I'm in South Florida and it's too hot now...great.
They took off like a shot while in the Jiffy Pots, but once I put them outside, they're growing SOOOoooo SLOOoooowwwww. But I am seeing growth.
So, what do I do now?
I have beets on the southern 'leg' of my U-shaped raised bed, about six-eight inches off the 'wall' of the raised bed . Next to them in a line I planted onions, then on the other side near the other 'wall' of the raised bed, I have some bush beans that I just thinned out. On either end, I have marigolds to deter slugs.
Did I do something wrong? The beets aren't growing too fast.
Ok. So you planted at the wrong time. Two options. Keep going, or give it up.
I planted my very first veggie back in 2007 in May. It was a cabbage. A cool/cold weather plant. There were three, and I didn't know any better. But, I didn't give up.
Kept them alive thru our BRUTAL Texas summer heat. Once the cool of fall hit, they perked up and began to thrive. Grew all three (one was dessimated by stupid worms who ate it into a lace doily while not putting one hole in the other cabbage sitting right next to it in the same pot...) from May 30th 2008 until March 20, 2009 -- NINE whole months!
Sweetest cabbage I ever ate. And, not a bug hole in either of the two I harvested.
So. You can keep 'em alive until the cool of the fall -- or you can give up the beets...
well, I am a firm believer in "Go Big, or Go Home"...I'll keep the beets.
But what do I do to protect them from our brutal humid South Florida weather? they are planted in a part of the planter box that gets 10 hours of sun a day ...and what do I fertilize it with? or just leave them alone (save for water) until fall and mess with them then?
I'd suggest some sort of shade cover over them. Even an umbrella will suffice. Long as they're getting some bright light but not the scorching sun all day. Keep the soil moist, and keep them cool with periodic misting from your hose. Don't let the soil dry out - EVER!.
I never once fertilized my beets, cause I didn't know any better. Now, I guess I would hit 'em with some Miracle Grow from a hose end sprayer about once every 2 weeks or so.
I grow beets in dirt rows and now mostly in raised beds filled rose soil. This soil drains really well so I have to watch how little I water seedlings. With this soil I use liquid fertilize every week alternating between MG for Tomatoes and Medina Hasta Grow for Plants. In dirt I side dress with 13-13-13-11sulfur as soon as they are up about 2" and then in about a month. I found that you don't want beets as with most veggies to stall out in their growth curve. They need enough food and water to keep them growing. If planted too crowded I sometimes don't get beets but only tops.
Nice! That baby looks ready to pluck. I've been very lazy about fertilizing. the beets I've harvested so far seem none the worse for my laziness, but the other bed, the Early Wonder beets, are a bit sluggish. That's proably why. I can give them a blast of something tomorrow.
Mary, I quit trying to grow Early Wonder because they just didn't like the way I do things. The beets in the picture are Krestrel F1. I don't know how they taste, but at least I like the way they grow for me. I am trying Red Ace but they just came up last week so too early how they will do for me.
T-rock, thanks for the link. I can see why I haven't come across it, our soil is more acidic here. I guess Texas has more alkaline soil and needs the sulfur maybe? All in all it looks like a good formula to me.
Honeybee, I had an inch of rain in that big storm last night. I'm sure the beets will be bouncing out of the ground soon! Beware, hope your pot is big enough to cook one in! *grin
The beets I planted mid March were stalling, but seem to be growing (picture below). I planted four plants, but noticed the other day that one of them is dying. I think the leaves wilted, and then they seemed to 'stick' together. Tried to pull them apart, but it really sticky and gooey and GROSS! Gonna pull it tomorrow. The others seem to be healthy... Do you think it's because the fourth plant was right next to a marigold? perhaps the funky cool science thingy that makes marigold such a great companion for tomatoes makes it bad for beets?
going to fertilize sometime this week.
Can I use a general fertilizer for my whole bed, or should I do different ferts for different plants?
Quoting:Can I use a general fertilizer for my whole bed, or should I do different ferts for different plants?
There should be no need to use different fertilizers for different plants.
Personally, I put fertilizer under the plants before sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings. I work it in real well with the surrounding soil. Once plants are well established, I side-dress every two weeks by scratching the fertilizer into the soil at the drip-line of each plant.
I, too, have a couple of beets that wilt no matter what I do. (shrug) Only mother nature knows why this is happening.
They definitely don't like the heat. I haven't found the perfect time to plant here in Houston. I usually start them in Oct. but they take until spring to grow. So I was going to start them later this year, like Jan., but wasn't able to put in a winter garden. SO, maybe this time I'll experiment and do some in Oct and some in Jan.
This is my first harvest from my row of beets. I would guess that I picked about 1/3 of the plants. There were many that had not formed a large root due to crowding, since I never thinned the seedlings. I will continue to water and see what I find in another 2 or three weeks. I'm hoping that this picking is enough for a couple dozen pints of pickled beets.
Most of these are Detroit Dark Red, though there are also a few Chiogga and Crimson Globe.
That is an EXCELLENT haul of beets. Here's my Aunt Beatrix's pickled beets recipe:
Aunt Beatrix's Pickled Beets - FINAL VERSION
Pick and clean fresh beets under running water. Trim the greens from the beets, leaving about 1" of the stalk attached so they won't bleed. Reserve the beet "greens" for another dish.
Put the beet bottoms into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Lower the fire and gently boil at medium just until the beets are tender enough to stick a fork in them. Remove from fire, drain, and let cool long enough to handle. Peel the outer "shell?" "membrane?" off. It should come off easily because you boiled the beets.
Slice the beets and arrange in layers into a container that will have a tight lid on it. Add two tbls. vinegar (you can control how "vinegary" you want your pickled beets to taste), a pinch of salt (just enough to enhance the natural beet sugar), two tbls. SUGAR (again, adjust to your taste) and enough Olive oil to cover the slices just to the top.
Slice a large, red onion into long (julienned?) strips about 1/4" wide and sautee these in a saucepan with a little Olive oil. Add some fresh minced garlic and some salt (you get to control how "salty" your onions are, so play with the recipe to your taste buds). Sautee until the onions begin to carmelize, then pour the remaining oil and the onions and arrange on top of the beets. Aunt Beatrix says you can also sautee some bell pepper, too. And at Christmastime, use red, yellow, and orange bells for a festive platter of beets!
Cap container with a tight fitting lid and put in the fridge. The more the beets marinate, the better the flavors blend.
As long as your beets are covered by the oil and vinegar, they will be perfectly good to eat. I ate pickled beets as far out as three weeks (because I was eating them slowly, and all by myself).
Preparing these for me was a gesture of love. Aunt Beatrice cooks them so deliciously, but can't eat beets because they give her very bad headaches.
That sounds delicious! How soon can you start to eat them, and how long do they stay good? I'm growing beets for the first time this year and so far germination and growth looks pretty good. So far they're only 1" high, but my mouth waters whenever I look at them, and I anticipate a bumper crop.
I've grown Bull's Blood and Pronto and both are great! I didn't care for how my Chiogga turned out. They were just bland and not very juicy. I think I'm going to buy several bunches of organic beets next grocery trip and pickle them!
I confess my ignorance. I think I've had the beets with the thickened juice. This batch was my family's traditional recipe. It has 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water, 2 parts sugar, cloves, mustard seed, and salt. They are sweetish and spicy, with the clove and mustard.
Ok, now ya'll have ME wondering!! Yes, the beets are quite large. I bought them several weeks ago and they've been in the fridge. They're still good, just taking forEVER to get tender. I shut 'em off at 11 and went to bed. Put em' back in the fridge and will continue boiling them tonight...sheesh.
You slice your beets before you boil them? I never have done it that way. I boil the beets whole, then cool, peel and slice them. Then, I reduce the beet juice liquid I boiled them in to mix with the olive oil, vinegar, and sugar. I sprinkle a bit of salt on the onions, and saute them in olive oil just until they're translucent. Finally, I cover the beets with the syrup reduction, the onions and all the extra olive oil and put them into the fridge.
gg, if we're having them with dinner - as in I'm not preserving them - yes. I peel them first, slice into rounds and steam, not boil. When done, few minutes(?) I dunno, 20 maybe at most, I drain, (saving the liquid if I don't forget) dump in butter, sprinkle with dill weed and any other spices I've a hankerin' for, something hot, cayenne pepper most likely. Then we're good to go!
Edited to say that DH loves his smashed taters made with beet juice. Whattaguy!
ditto here, folks. Can't imagine boiling beets for 3 hours, by they they would be completely washed out, no nutrition, etc. Linda, I wonder if you got sugar beets or maybe a mangel variety.
As for me, I seldom boil beets at all, preferring to bake them instead. Put them in a baking pan, add just a tad of water, cover w/foil, and bake around 350º. Not only do they not lose their color but they really offer much more flavor than when boiled. Once cooked you can then eat as is or follow through with canning, pickling, etc.
Mary, your recipe w/ the dill and cayenne sounds great to me! I'm gonna have to give that a try. Thanks!
Oven at 350. Beets, turnips, carrots, onions, fingerling potatoes. Coat with good olive oil, a bit of salt, pepper, pinch of sugar. Bake without cover until tender, turning/stirring once or twice. Sounds good along with my lamb chops for tomorrow!!
Honeybee, for small beets cooked at 350º I'd go 35 minutes to an hour or so. Bigger beets will take a little longer at that temp BUT you can also bake at 450º to help cut down the cooking time. As long as there is a bit of water in your baking pan and foil to hold in the moisture the beets will come out nicely.
And yes, I prefer to bake them whole leaving an inch or so of stem so they don't bleed. The skins will easily slip off when cooked, holding them under running water helps a bit. You'll end up with a very dark colored beet, lots of nutrition still within, and extra flavor. I bake large pans of them at a time so I can have some served with a bit of butter and seasonings, pickle some of them, and/or freeze them cooked for winter use. And don't forget to cook the greens! Yummy!
Shoe...who's almost getting TOO much rain again. Hope your garden is doing great!
I have to go home and finish boiling what I started Wednesday! Either those beets are too old, or my fire doesn't get hot enough! Might need a blow torch, or sit outside in the sun for about 15 minutes. That oughta do it!
^^_^^ (almost time to go HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEE!!!!!)
So Shoe and Gymgirl, are you saying that my steaming the beets leaches out nutrients? Last night I roasted them with garden onions and garden carrots tossed in evoo with a touch of salt and some pepper. Very yummy. The beets were small ones that did not have room to grow due to crowding in the bed. I left a little of the stalk on and did not peel them, the peel slipped off easily with a fork as I was consuming this super flavorful treat. Beet haters just do not know what they are missing!
Oh m'gosh, "I only learned how to cook beets last fall from my infamous Aunt Beatrix"... "infamous"? I don't think she was that bad a cook from what I've seen of the recipe you posted above, Linda. And congrats on getting those beets cooked. Hope you enjoyed them.
MaryMcP, steaming won't leach out the nutrients as much as boiling does. Boiling tends to pull the color and nutrition out, most likely because it pulls the liquid from the beets. Steaming is a bit different, especially your smaller beets since they'll cook in less time. Baking will heat/cook the beet without removing any "beet liquid" so it stays intact. And your beets, onions and carrots sound great to me!
Bernie, I bet ya'll grow great beets up your way. Doesn't it stay fairly cool up there most of the year? Even in your "hot" months do the nights cool back down?
Shoe, happy it's been a good growing season so far.
It can be mighty hot but don't last to long at one time. Usually 2 or 3 days of hot weather then a thunderstorm to freshen things up.
August can get dry & hot.
Beets are part of the reason we are market growers.
Fall of 1986 we had a big surplus of eggs. A friend told me about Mankato Farmers Market. He didn't know where it was. So we loaded up our eggs on a Saturday morning & headed out. We also took along a banana box of beets that were about 6" across. (That's the size my mother always used for pickles.)
The rest is history, now in our 26th year!
Oh Linda, I hope you were able to save those cast iron pots! And very smart of you to give Aunt Beatrix her own set. My Grandfather did similar for my Grandmother, giving her her very own little tool box with hand tools in it for under her kitchen counter. Some folks think it was a great gift, others realize it was to keep her from "borrowing" his tools and not putting them back! *grin (My wife has her own tool box too; gee, I wonder why I gave them to her?) :>)
Bernie, I had an idea ya'll had excellent beet weather up there. And those big ones are ones I'd look for to pickle as well. Most folks here pull them from marble size (with greens) up to 3 or 4". I actually have a decent row of beets this year (very rare for clay soil) so will be picking them at all sizes, hopefully having some for baseball size near the end of harvest.
As for KY RU, too soon to tell. Last year was a terrible year here weather wise and financially. I hope this year is better but still playing it by ear. After quite a few years now of no "vacation" I think I'm due one so wish me luck!
Shoe, I have lots of smaller baking dishes, but none with covers that were deep enough. (I have an aversion to using aluminum wrap.) All my cooking pots, baking sheets, etc., are either glass, stainless steel, or cast iron.