Beets: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Beets (Beta vulgaris) are a quick-growing vegetable that can be cultivated almost anywhere. Although beets are commonly thought of as a root crop, the entire plant is delicious.
When thinning a row of beets, tender beet greens can be collected, and older leaves provide nice greens when it’s time to pull out the entire plant. Red root beets are the most well-known, although golden and striped types are also available.
Because beets are a cool-season food, you may be able to sow an early harvest in the spring and a later crop in the summer or fall. Roughly two months after planting, numerous beet cultivars are ready for harvest.
The family of this plant is Amaranthaceae, and it’s an annual vegetable that is endemic to Europe. The blooming period for these plants is usually seasonal, and the type of soil they require is loamy, moist, or well-drained, with an acidic to neutral pH, i.e., 6.0 to 7.0.
They can grow up to 12 to 18 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. They require the sun, partially or completely.
How To Grow Beets?
Wait until the soil gets heated to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit before planting in the spring. As long as the daily temperature does not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you can repeat planting every two to three weeks.
If you’re planting beets in the summer or fall, allow at least a month between the final seeding and the first forecasted frost. You might even be able to sow in the fall for a winter crop in sunny climes.
Beets may be grown from seed in the ground or in containers and are very easy to grow. They require a sunny location with adequate soil drainage.
Plant them apart from Swiss chard and spinach, as the two plants are related and are subject to the same pests and diseases. Seeds should be spaced 1 to 2 inches apart, and rows should be about a foot apart.
Only approximately 1/2 inch of seed should be buried. Thin seedlings to roughly 4 inches apart when they reach 3 to 4 inches tall. There will be no need for a support system.
How To Care Beets?
On most days, beets like to grow in full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sunshine. They can, however, withstand some mild shade.
The optimum soil is light, rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic to neutral in pH. Discard any rocks, clay, weeds, or anything else that might obstruct root growth.
Beets also require boron in the soil to avoid black heart, a disease characterised by distorted leaves and corky black blotches on the roots. Compost or seaweed extract can be used as a soil amendment to deliver boron.
Every week, include at least 1 inch of water. Mulching prevents the soil from drying out and becoming too hot.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Beets aren’t as cold-tolerant as other cool-season veggies like broccoli, but they can withstand a light frost. The optimal temperature range is between 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity isn’t usually a concern as long as sufficient soil moisture is controlled and air flow around the plants is present to help prevent fungus development.
Additional feeding will be required two weeks after the beets emerge if your soil is deficient in organic matter. Following the label recommendations, any excellent vegetable fertiliser will suffice.
Beets are pollinated mostly by the wind, with blooms blooming only in the second year of the plant’s life cycle. Pollination isn’t an issue because most gardeners grow beets as annuals rather than biennials.
Varieties of Beets
1. The hue of ‘Burpee Golden’ beets is a lovely yellow-orange, but they may be finicky to cultivate.
2. The heirloom beet ‘Chioggia’ has circular red and white rings.
3. ‘Detroit Dark Red’ is excellent for eating fresh, canning, and pickling.
4. ‘Mini Ball’ beets are perfect for cultivating in pots since they yield individual-sized beets.
Beets vs Radishes
Beets and radishes appear to be close relatives. They are, nevertheless, two completely distinct species. Beets are substantially bigger than radishes, despite the fact that they are both round and often red or purple in colour.
Beets have a bumpier texture than carrots. Beets have a bittersweet, earthy flavour, whilst radishes have a peppery flavour.
How To Harvest Beets?
Beets require 55 to 70 days to develop after planting. When the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, you may begin picking beet greens. Before they reach 6 inches in length, the greens are at their most delicate, and they may be eaten raw or cooked.
Preserve some of the leaves on the plants since they’re important for root growth. Beetroots are ready for harvesting when they reach a diameter of 1 1/2 to 2 inches.
Greater roots will become more fibrous, and stiff. Loosen the dirt around the beetroots and carefully take them out. To minimise bleeding during cooking, leave at least 1 inch of stem attached.
Beets make excellent root cellar vegetables and may be preserved for three to four months in a cold, dry location, packed in sand or sawdust. Beets can also be frozen, canned, or pickled. Fresh beets can last up to a week in the fridge.
How Grow Beets In Pots?
Beets are fantastic container plants because of their compact growing pattern. If you don’t have enough garden area or the correct soil conditions to produce beets, container growing is a fantastic choice.
The pot should have a depth of at least 12 inches and a width of 12 to 24 inches across the top. Make sure there are holes at the bottom to allow for proper drainage. Beets of miniature types, such as ‘Mini Ball’ and ‘Baby Ball,’ grow nicely in pots.
Except for thinning seedlings and clipping off leaves as needed to eat, beet plants don’t require any pruning. Trim any damaged leaves dragging on the floor as well, as these can transfer pests and illnesses to the plant.
How To Propagate Beets?
Beets are only one of several veggies that may be grown from waste. This is a low-cost, fast, and simple method for getting a second harvest of leaves. It will not, however, result in bulb regrowth. Here’s how to do it:
1. Pull the leaves from the beet and cook with them. Also, discard the majority of the beets but save the top third, which is less than a third of the whole beet.
2. Place the cut side of the top section in a small dish of water. Place the dish in front of a bright window.
3. Every other day or two, check the water. In a few days, you should notice fresh leaf growth.
4. In approximately a week, start collecting leaves as required. For several weeks, the beet will continue to sprout leaves.
How To Grow Beets From Seeds?
The packs of beet seeds are really clusters of four to six seeds. You may either plant the entire clump and thin the seedlings after they reach a few inches in height, or try to split the clumps into independent seeds before planting.
The best method to accomplish this is to gently roll the clumps with a rolling pin, being cautious not to smash the seeds.
The majority of gardeners prefer to merely thin the young greens. Salads can be made with the thinned leaves. Thin seedlings at the soil line with scissors or shears to avoid damaging the roots of plants that will remain in the soil; do not lift them up.
Due to their thick outer shell, beet seeds might take a long time to germinate. Soaking the seed clusters overnight softens the shell and accelerates germination.
Germination takes approximately a week in soil that is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and up to three weeks in soil that is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beets Repotting and Potting
Beets thrive in a potting mix designed specifically for vegetables. To prevent having to repot beets, plant them in a container that will handle their mature size. You won’t have to harm the delicate roots this way.
Because beets are most often cultivated as annuals, there is no need to overwinter them. They may typically be cultivated during the winter in zones 9 and above.
Common Pets and Diseases in Beets
Other root crops, such as potatoes, have many of the same difficulties as beets. In addition to black heart, which is caused by a boron deficit, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
• Bacterial infection is a variety of soil bacteria that can create discoloured patches on leaves, which can spread to the roots over time. Plants that are harmed should be removed, and crops must be rotated the next season. Planting beets in a garden site formerly inhabited by potatoes is not recommended.
• Virus infections can create twisted, deformed leaves, which are commonly spread by leafhopper insects. Plant resistant cultivars to combat viruses, and apply insecticides to tackle leafhoppers.
• Fungal infections produce little brown or grey patches that appear on the leaves, similar to bacteria. Rotate crops every two to three years to avoid this. Apply a fungicide at the first indication of illness.
• Root rot is caused by the Fusarium fungus and causes the above-ground foliate to wilt, as if in need of water, while the subterranean roots rot away. Root rot appears in cycles, with two or three years of disease-free growth followed by a terrible season in which many plants are damaged. Root rot may be avoided by keeping your yard clear of weeds and not overwatering it. Plants that have been affected should be eradicated.
• Leaf miners, leafhoppers, flea beetles, aphids, and caterpillars are among the insect pests to watch out for. When pests nibble on leaves, they produce ragged holes that may be spotted. Use a suitable pesticide or manually remove pests.