How to Grow: Organic Beets
Spring is just around the corner! This is the perfect time of year to brush up on your knowledge of growing techniques. Here at MIgardener, we want to share all of our favorite growing secrets; from our garden to yours. As you read through todays post, you'll find there is nothing simpler than growing organic!
Today we'll be talking about how to grow the perfect organic beets. We'll share tips from how to get the perfect soil density all the way to harvesting. The wonderful thing about beets is that they can be grown all season long. They are some of the hardiest and most cold/heat tolerant of any vegetable. With an added bonus: both the roots and leaves are edible!
Let's get started.
Beets are extremely tolerant to hard and clay soil, however if you want a picturesque shape; beets will grow in a perfect globe in loose and fluffy soil. In the realm of fertilizing, beets need to grow tall leaves in order for their roots to grow properly, so they require lots of nitrogen to encourage leaf growth. Once the leaves are formed, photosynthesis will send energy to the roots! Till in an inch of compost into the soil to provide nutrients. Fertilize according to soil test results. We recommend sprinkling in a nitrogen rich fertilizer like Trifecta+ to give it the extra boost of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, trace minerals and micronutrients. Without a good amount of nitrogen, the beets will only produce enough greenery to survive, sparing no energy for the production of the root. Beets that have grown without enough nitrogen will grow to be woody in texture instead of being tender and flavorful.
Tolerant to any soil with a ph from 5.5-8, no lower or higher. Compost is a natural ph buffer, so if you notice your soil is leaning too acidic or alkaline simply add more compost to even out the acidity.
Beets require full sun. 6-8 hours in order to grow healthy roots. Any less and roots will only grow to be very small. Sunlight is vital for photosynthesis to occur.
Water frequently. Apply at least 1 inch of water per week. Beets will either be tough without enough water or they will be too dry. If beets aren't watered consistently they will crack once they drink up moisture, similar to how tomatoes crack. This occurs when the cell walls aren't flexible enough because of a lack of moisture are then overwhelmed by a sudden burst of h20. Make sure to have even soil moisture to decrease chances of cracking. Tilling in compost to soil will increase water retention and maintain even moisture.
Plant 2 seeds every 3-4 inches apart for better chances of sprouting. Three inches for higher density planting, four inches for bigger bulbs. It's better to thin them out after sprouting beings instead of spacing being off balance if germination doesn't occur for each seed.
As previously stated, beets can are tolerant to both hot and cold temperatures. As long as they're planted in an area that get's full sun, they will grow in temperatures anywhere between 50° and 85°f. Above 100°f and beets will grow quickly and flower before the root is fully developed.
Time to harvest from seed: 50-100 days. From transplant: 35-45 days. In order to harvest throughout the season, plant beets in succession. Succession planting happens when you plant a week or two apart. This way you can harvest beets from spring to fall! Harvest leaves whenever they reach a sufficient size, though don't over harvest leaves to make sure there's still energy being sent to the roots. For the best quality roots, harvest when they are 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Larger roots are sweeter but can be tougher in texture. Once you start picking, you can continue for four to six weeks depending on the weather. Otherwise, plant in succession and harvest continually.
A 25 foot row of beets will yield 25 to 30 pounds of produce! Beet roots are high in sugar, and the plant is a good source of vitamins A and C. You can eat beets hot or cold, pickled or raw. What variety of beets you looking forward to planting?
Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener
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