If you want to grow a plant that has it all - the looks as well as the nutrition, while being easy to prepare and easier to grow, beet makes the perfect option for you. Although beets are regarded to be root plants, you can practically eat the whole plant, from top to bottom. A fast growing crop, beet can be grown around just about anywhere. Its fruit are high in beta-carotene, folate, potassium and many other minerals and help the body fight against many diseases. However, the best part about this plant is that it can be grown even by a novice gardener. Read on to explore tips on how to grow beets in your garden.
Growing Beets In The Home Garden
Beets are one of the least fussy plants, which are very easy to grow. In order to plant them, you need to choose a site with plenty of sun and light soil, with pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Beets grow best in well drained, friable and deep soils. You can also grow them in partial shade. Plow the soil to twelve inches, add organic matter and till again. Remove all the lumps, stones and trash from the planting bed.
You can directly sow beet seeds in the planting bed, without waiting for them to germinate. Instead of sowing them in very cold or very hot temperature, opt for sometime in the middle. You can plant them 3-4 weeks before the last frost or in late summer or early autumn. In very cold temperature, the beets may go to seed and in hot weather; the chances of their becoming woody get enhanced.
Sow the seeds one inch deep and two inches apart. Keep the rows at least one foot apart. Beets germinate well in temperature ranging from 50 to 80 degree Fahrenheit. As beets are often planted in seed clusters, they can often come out with two plants and crowd the rows. To make it more hardy, you can soak the seeds in compost tea for twenty to thirty minutes, before planting them.
Give beets at least one inch of water a week and don’t let the soil dry. If you don’t water them properly, the plants may become stunted and tough. You need to side dress beets with good quality compost, in mid-season. The plant thrives well with onions, so you can plant them nearby.
Remove weeds on a regular basis. In addition, thin the beet plant on a regular basis, to ensure proper root growth. Beets are fairly hardy and have no serious pest or disease problems. Check roots for boring insects and add fertilizers to avoid them. You can use liquid fish and seaweed fertilizer to drench the leaves and nourish the roots, preventing them from black spots and stunted growth.
Encourage the growth of beet plants by feeding them dilute organic fertilizer, low in nitrogen, if you want the roots more than the leaves. However, if you lust after the green leaves, then add a fertilizer with even amount of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. You can also enhance the sweetness of their fruit, by providing them with even amount of moisture.
Harvest the roots after they reach one to three inches in diameter. Generally, a period of 40 to 50 days after the sowing is good for harvesting the plant. Pull them gently and leave at least one inch of stem to prevent the roots from bleeding.
- There are many varieties of beets available today and you can grow one according to your choice. Detroit Dark Red, Early Wonder, Burpee’s Golden, Ruby Queen and Little Ball are all the varieties you can choose from. One advantage of growing beets from seeds is that it you can choose from their many varieties.