Planting, Growing, Harvesting, and Storing Beets: A Comprehensive Guide
Beets are a highly nutritious root vegetable that are easy to grow in a variety of climates. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a great addition to any healthy diet. If you are looking to grow your own beets, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from planting to harvesting and storing.
|Days to Grow
|Square Foot Garden Spacing
|4-6 beets per square foot
|When to Plant
|After the last frost date in spring
|6-10 beets per plant
|Tolerates light frosts
|Hours of Light Needed
|Full sun to partial shade
|Well-drained, slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.5)
|Days to Maturity
Choosing the Right Beet Variety
Before you start planting your beets, it is important to choose a suitable variety. Many different types of beets are available, each with a unique flavour and texture. Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Detroit Dark Red: A classic beet perfect for roasting and pickling.
- Chioggia: A striped beet that is great for fresh eating and salads.
- Golden: A yellow beet that is slightly sweeter and more delicate than other varieties.
When choosing your beets, consider your climate and growing conditions. Some varieties are more tolerant of heat and drought than others, so select a variety that will thrive in your area.
Once you have chosen your beet variety, it is time to start planting. Beets are best planted in the spring, after the last frost date in your area. They grow well in a wide range of soils as long as they are well-drained. If you have heavy or clay soil, consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve the soil structure.
To plant your beets, scatter the seeds in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water the area well and keep the soil moist until the seeds have sprouted. Beets will grow best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Caring for Your Beets
As your beets grow, it is important to take care of them properly. This includes regular watering, weed control, and fertilization. Be sure to water your beets deeply once a week or more frequently during dry spells. If you are using an irrigation system, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rot and other problems.
Weeds can quickly take over your beet patch, so be sure to keep the area free of unwanted plants. You can use a hoe or hand-pull the weeds or use a mulch to suppress weed growth.
Fertilization is also essential for healthy beet growth. Beets prefer slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If you are still determining the pH of your soil, consider getting a soil test. Based on the results of your soil test, you can amend the soil with lime or other fertilizers as needed.
Harvesting and Storing Beets
Once your beets have reached maturity, it is time to harvest them. The size of your beets will depend on the variety you have chosen, but most beets are ready to harvest in about 60-80 days. To harvest your beets, pull them from the soil and clean off any dirt.
Beets can be stored in various ways, depending on how you plan to use them. If you are storing them for a short period, place them in the refrigerator. For more extended storage, consider canning or pickling your beets. You can also freeze beets, which will change the texture and flavour.
Growing beets is a simple and rewarding process that can add a nutritious and delicious vegetable to your diet. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting, beets are an excellent choice for your garden. With proper care and attention, your beet plants will thrive and produce a bountiful harvest that can be enjoyed for months to come.
Why not give beets a try this growing season? With their sweet and earthy flavour, they are sure to become a staple in your kitchen. And with all the health benefits they offer, you’ll feel good about incorporating them into your diet. So get planting, growing, harvesting, and storing beets today and see what all the fuss is about!
Seeds and planting
Links and Resources
(These are some of what I use)
mybackyard.ca Seeds Page
Get a Head Start on Spring: The Benefits of Starting Your Seeds Indoors
Saving Vegetable Seeds: A Comprehensive Guide to Gardening Success
myBackyard.ca Planting Guide
Pollock Tomatoes (North hardy Tomato variety)
Tomatoes (Useful information on starting tomatoes from seed)
Individual seed and plant information is available in the "Gardening Shortcut Links" above under "North Hardy Plants to grow". I have successfully grown all of these, and most I grow year to year.