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Vegetable Gardening: Beet QuestionDays To Maturity

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WillyFromAZ
Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

September 23, 2013
1:06 PM

Post #9668153

My experience with beets over several seasons has consistently been that they take four or five months to reach a decent size, say, two-ish inches in diameter. Seed packets usually give a maturity date of about two months, sometimes less. What is your experience?

I usually plant beets in the fall; perhaps a spring planting would hasten maturity?

Willy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 23, 2013
2:29 PM

Post #9668202

Willy,
I'm planting beets (third season) this weekend, and yes, they take FOR-E-VER!

I think I'm going to soak some of the seeds in a cup of water with a capful of Hydrogen Peroxide to soften the seed coat a bit, about 4 hours before sowing the seeds.

I'll be sowing beet seeds every 6 weeks until December 20th (Winter Solstice) so, I'll have an idea of which batch did the best.

And, I might sow two spring batches around January 20th and February 20th. That should tell me something, too.

Linda
WillyFromAZ
Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

September 23, 2013
3:10 PM

Post #9668223

So, why do the seed companies say 60 days???? :)

I can tell you that my family lore siad that soaking beet seed in tea overnight would promote early germination. Last year, I finally planted soaked and unsoaked seed. No difference in germination. Oh well.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

September 23, 2013
3:10 PM

Post #9668224

DTM on the packet is based on kind of ideal beet conditions. That's not AZ or TX... or AL. I can only grow them in the fall-to-winter here, but we have many days then when it's too hot or too cold for them. Like Goldilocks they need just right to grow.

So it just takes us longer!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 23, 2013
3:18 PM

Post #9668236

Well said, NicoleC!

I think our best bet is to plant several batches at different times and observe what they do...
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


September 23, 2013
5:05 PM

Post #9668310

Ga is not perfect for beets, but I have much better luck in spring. Planted late February, ready the first of June.

Thumbnail by Farmerdill   Thumbnail by Farmerdill   Thumbnail by Farmerdill      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

September 23, 2013
5:47 PM

Post #9668340

I wonder if decreasing day length messes with their grow rate. They are biennials and must have someway to count seasons. I've grown beats in the past and I've never noted that they have been very difficult to germinate or that they took forever to grow. I think more than 60 days, but certainly not 4 to 5 months.

drobarr

drobarr
Hummelstown, PA
(Zone 6b)

September 24, 2013
9:29 PM

Post #9669547

Some of those maturity dates are from the time they germinate to harvest. I have had very good luck planting beets in spring...Around April 15 and harvesting early to mid July.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 25, 2013
6:37 AM

Post #9669718

So, sounds like they prefer to mature as the temps begin to get warmer. I can start a batch in February and April and see how that works here.

I think the timing is critical. Avoiding the extreme heat of summer is key, too. But, that leaves PLENTY of growing days for me!

Linda
Gracye
Warrenton, VA

September 25, 2013
6:47 PM

Post #9670294

Apparently, according to the Seed Savers Exchange information, planting for a Fall crop, in my area, was the end of August. So I did so, first time trying for a fall crop.
My beets are about 5" tall now, and haven't bulbed out. I have great expectations that I will actually get some before the hard Frost comes, though - just the way they look. They are balky when trying to germinate in hot weather, so this is the big problem with them, it seems. Just sow extra thick, I say! Or, plant them between a tall crop to shelter them from sun, and check the companion planting guide for compatibility.
My Spring crop, well, I should say early Summer, has been beautiful, and very dependable.
Now I'm growing turnips, bunching onions, and my third planting of spinach is worth it! Have not ever had any spinach, and I was going to see if this planting produced, and it is, so far!

I send my my best!
WillyFromAZ
Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

September 26, 2013
2:23 PM

Post #9670960

I've checked a few seed catalogs and, for those that address the DTM question, they are explicit that it is from time of sowing. Since most folks seem to agree that 50-60 days is not their experience, I am beginning to suspect that the DTM numbers refer to harvesting beet greens, with bulb harvest simply not mentioned.

I do find beets to be a reliable crop otherwise, easy to grow and quite tolerant of cold weather, at least "cold" as I define it in Arizona...temps into the mid 20sF some nights :)

drobarr

drobarr
Hummelstown, PA
(Zone 6b)

September 26, 2013
7:33 PM

Post #9671166

Mine average 80-90 days to get good golf ball sized beets with a spring planting. Beets can be planted a little earlier and are quite hardy...but I have noticed under cool conditions they grow slower. I have also planted them later in the year in July and August and they didnt do as well...lots of top growth but little bulb formation so I only plant them in spring. Perhaps a mid May planting might shorten the maturity time. But my experience is the maturity times are often overly optimistic in garden catalogs. I just assumed they were more of a time from germination or transplant to harvest...as germination can vary so much with soil temperature.

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