Fire engine red, golden yellow, deep purple, or candy cane striped, their range of colors and flavors never ceases to amaze me.No matter the variety, just a few slices of these juicy, vibrant roots can transform any ho-hum dish into an extravagant delicacy.Figuring out when to harvest your beets depends on a few factors, including the variety, the time of year they were planted, and the average temperature where they are growing.While some people argue that the smaller roots have more flavor and juiciness, others prefer to allow them to reach a larger size before picking.Allowing them to grow a bit larger is certainly fine, but be warned that if you wait too long to harvest, they may become fibrous, soft, or wrinkled, and will eventually start to lose some of their succulent flavor.If the greens are beginning to look wilted – and you know the crop is near its time to harvest – the root is likely passing its prime and should be picked right away.When you have decided it’s time to harvest, use a garden fork or knife to gently loosen the soil around each plant, being careful not to accidentally slice into any of the roots.Tip: If you water your crop a couple of days before you plan to harvest, it will help the plants to come out of the soil more easily.It is best to only wash beetroots with water right before you plan to use them, as excess moisture will encourage faster rotting.Prepare your storage crate by pouring some sand or sawdust on the bottom and layer your beets on top.Once chopped or sliced to the desired size, spread them out on a baking tray and flash freeze them, to prevent them from sticking together.Tip: Vacuum sealing is a great way to prevent freezer burn and extend storage life.The liquid produced by this ferment is known as kvass, a healthy beet juice tonic popular in Russia and Eastern Europe for boosting the immune system.As the beets stew in a brine of water and salt, beneficial bacteria begin to grow and multiply.These healthy bacteria consume the natural sugars in the beets, producing lactic and acetic acid, which in turn preserves the vegetables.These healthy probiotics, similar to those found in yogurt, create a delicious pickled condiment that will populate your gut with beneficial microbes.Pour just enough brine into the crock or jar, cover the vegetables completely, and place a weight on top.Tighten the lid and keep your crock or jar at room temperature in a dark spot in the kitchen for about a week or so, or until bubbles to appear on the surface.You want to examine it periodically to make sure the veggies are still covered in liquid, and that there is nothing moldy or funky growing on top.If a white film appears on top of the ferment, do not fear – it is most likely just yeast and poses no health risk.The length of time this can take will vary depending on the ambient temperature and brine concentration, but you can expect the process to take approximately 7-10 days.It has a salty, slightly sour flavor and can also be used as a base for making borscht, the traditional Eastern European soup.The most wonderful things about beets is that they can be eaten in such a huge variety of different ways, each bringing out unique texture and flavor profiles of the vegetable.One of the most popular dishes made from beets is borscht, the deep red, hearty Eastern European soup – that’s often more like a stew – traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve and Easter.The red roots give it the earthy color and flavor, and its characteristic slightly sour undertones come from the use of beet kvass as a base.Roast them to bring out their juicy sweetness, ferment them for a hint of sourness, or eat them raw for a delightful crunch.A bit easier and less time consuming to prepare than a fermented version, our sister site, Foodal has a wonderful recipe for quick-pickled beets and turnips.Kick off a hearty dinner with this light and fresh green salad featuring arugula, beets, and goat cheese.Incredibly healthy, refreshing, and delicious, this recipe from Foodal will surely provide an energetic start to your day. .
How to Know When to Harvest Beets • Gardenary
The truth is that root crops like beets or carrots can take their sweet time to grow to a size that's worth harvesting. .
How to Grow Beets: a 3 Season Crop
Beta vulgaris As summer winds to a close, the weather starts to cool off and the gardener’s thoughts shift toward other things.The past month or so has been all about staying on top of weeds, keeping pests away, watering your garden during dry periods, and harvesting some of your well-earned veggie bounty.But as any seasoned vegetable gardener knows, summer crops that move out of the soil and into the kitchen call for some new additions in your growing space.Before you know it, you’re weeding, prepping, and amending fresh beds to make room for yet another round of crops suitable for the autumn.There’s one vibrant veggie that always gets me stoked to plant in the cool seasons of spring or early fall: the beet!A root veggie notorious for that earthy taste you either love or hate, they also provide leafy spinach-like greens.In the modern APG III taxonomical system they are all classed within the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) .Historical records show that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and even Babylonians cultivated this taper-like wild root into the bulbous, delicious produce varieties that we have today.Soil should be well-draining, fertile, loamy, and amended with plenty of compost and nitrogen for a successful crop.Don’t skimp on the phosphorus or potassium either – these plant nutrients are vital for healthy root growth.Beets are cool-weather crops, basking and flourishing especially in mild temperatures of around 60°F – typical of spring or fall.In zones with harsh winters, avoid planting them outdoors too early in the spring or too late in the fall.These veggies, along with carrots, spinach, and parsnips, do best when direct seeded (i.e. planted straight into a garden space).It works best if containers are deep and if seedlings are small – we’ll get to some transplanting tips later in this article.I’ve had experiences of this myself: laying down a ton of beet seed and expecting a huge turnout, only to be disappointed when just a couple little sprouts push their way up.Luckily, gardeners have a couple tricks to help you get the most plentiful crop, and an optimal germination rate.Scarification is a botanical term for assisting with the opening of a casing or shell around a seed, so it may germinate more easily.I’m no champion of this method (because it takes a bit more time and effort – call me lazy), but give it a try if it’s up your alley.After your preferred scarifying method (or after you’ve elected to skip it, if you’re feeling confident), it’s time to do the deed and get your seeds in the ground.If you elect to take a chance and sow beet seeds indoors in containers for transplant, you can warm the soil with a heating pad or another method, if you like.In the fall, don’t plant seeds outdoors less than about 50 days before the first expected hard frost in your growing zone.With biointensive or square foot gardening methods, follow the suggested directions or patterns for planting beets, and just make sure to keep that one-inch distance.Water thoroughly after planting so the topsoil has a good soak, but don’t go overboard and continue until the ground is waterlogged.If you’re a weird, brave gardening soul like me who has some bizarre methods up her sleeve, you might want to give transplanting beet seedlings a try.Similarly, some of my friends who are young community growers and farmers have also had transplanting success using these methods, even with some of the beet’s close relatives like spinach and chard (all of which, along with beets, are famous for hating it when you transplant them – tending to dither, wither, and die).Every gardener knows that starting seeds indoors in containers for later transplant adds a little extra legwork, but it can be well worth the effort with certain other vegetables.When you sow seeds straight into the ground, there is always the risk that some won’t germinate – and when that happens, you wind up with a patchy, scraggly-looking bed that doesn’t look quite as bountiful as you would have hoped.What’s more, you’ll choose to plant only successful seedlings, ridding yourself of any chance of having that patchy, only partially bountiful beet bed.Every single space only takes an already robust seedling, leaving no holes or partial beds that look incomplete and bare.Plus, I have observed that protecting small seedlings indoors greatly increases their ability to withstand common beet-loving pests that especially savor the chance to get at your little guys early, including rabbits, deer, and flea beetles.You can give them a little jumpstart this way with some extra growth indoors – and voila, you have a thick, lush bed of beets!Getting beets seeded and planted is the hardest part of the process, and the remainder of their life cycle is an easy ride for most gardeners.You will begin to notice root growth at the very base of the leaf stalks, right above the dirt, about three to four weeks after seeding.At one to four inches tall, most weeds (even if they are tiny themselves) can rapidly overtake, overshadow, and sap nutrients from your little guys, crowding them out and injuring their growth potential.In the bigger spaces between plantings, such as between rows, you can use a larger hoe to get rid of unwelcome weeds.Once they are about five to six inches tall, I give them one last close hand-weeding, and weed the rest of the bed with a larger hoe.If you have planted a close-spaced crop of beets that hasn’t been thinned yet, the foliage will grow large enough to shade out and deter weeds from outcompeting them.Some may offer a counterpoint to this, describing their confidence and experience in watering their beets everyday, and I won’t argue with that.But many experienced gardeners will tell you that excessive watering of your beets will actually take away from full root development.An abundance of water can cause the plant to redirect energies to its leaves – which isn’t a bad thing either, since beet greens are definitely delicious.It is important to avoid soaking your soil every day, as this can backfire and lead to issues of rot and disease, both in the bulb and the greens.Regardless of your choice, each variety needs the same basic conditions to grow – though forage or sugar beets will require a little more patience, thanks to their slower maturation rates.This is a classic heirloom variety that dates to 1892 and was originally called ‘Detroit Dark Red Turnip.’.The mild flavor is great for adding a crunch to salads and they are equally delicious when roasted, boiled, or used in soups or stews.‘Ruby Queen’ is an ideal variety to grow in poor soils, and it produces globe-like two to three-inch roots.Whether it’s pests or disease, you’ll want to watch out for and protect your crop against these top threats to your patch.If the leaves of your plants (especially when young) are covered with numerous tiny, almost pinprick-sized holes, this could indicate flea beetle damage.While this little guy tends to be more attracted to brassicas (like kale, cabbage, and broccoli), you may sometimes find them on your beets.An adorable green caterpillar, these chew large holes in the foliage, and can completely defoliate a plant.Floating row covers during the day can protect plants from butterflies that lay their eggs, and prevent the next generation of destructive cabbage loopers from munching away at your crop.These typically grey and black nickel-sized beetles (though they can come in other colors, too) will eat very large holes in the foliage, sometimes only leaving only the veins behind.Your best bet is removing them directly by hand and killing them, but wear gloves – these insects release a chemical that can cause blisters on the skin.This 100 percent organic insecticide is made of wheat bran coated with Nosema locustae spores.If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that rabbits love beet greens – more than carrots, lettuce, or any other veggie.Putting a fence around your garden is a good first resort, but if the bunny-raiding becomes a real problem, check out our full article on the best rabbit-repelling tips and tricks.Unfortunately, deer also tend to find beets (as well as chard and spinach) irresistible, and often make a beeline for these veggies.Plant diseases caused by a variety of different fungi, bacteria, water molds, and viruses can attack your crop.Certain insects can spread this virus through your crop, most notably the leafhopper, a tiny little cute grasshopper-like bug.Veins of leaves will darken, plant growth will be stunted, and leaf edges may also curl upward in the presence of this virus.There’s no treatment for this virus, if you see signs of infection, remove and dispose of all plant material (do not place it on the compost pile).Water in the middle of the day if conditions are hot and humid, and use of anti-fungal sprays may be effective – organic preferred.Here’s to hoping all that watering, weeding, and pest-battling yields you successful, happy, and mature plants – all to get you to that last and best step: harvest time!With most types of beets, you will want to harvest the whole plant right around the maturity date (depending on the variety – see above), which will give you the biggest roots.If you’re impatient for a spring or fall salad or two, you can harvest some small greens here and there, even before the first little nubby showings of a beetroot.Of course, just make sure not to harvest all of the leaves – the plants need them to survive and grow those little roots into larger, tastier bulbs.You can cut greens from your beetroots as you use them, and save your roots for later by keeping them in their plastic bag in storage.Beetroots will store well in a dry area in a root cellar as well, preferably in a food-grade wax cardboard box.Sometimes, the outside skin of beets will lose their supple quality over time, feeling a bit softer and mushier to the touch (kind of like a ripe avocado, though firmer).If you’ve only ever enjoyed store beets from a can (if you could even call it that), then you don’t know the vegetable in its full glory – especially when grown and harvested straight from the garden.Kids and adults alike will love these nutritious wraps, perfect for a quick lunch.When they see this gorgeous chocolate cake with its colorful cream cheese frosting, you’re sure to get compliments – it’s totally Instagram-worthy.Plant Type: Annual Root Crop Maintenance: Moderate Native to: Mediterranean naturalized world-wide Tolerance: Drought Hardiness (USDA Zone): 2-11 Soil Type: Rich loam Season: Spring, summer, fall, and in warmer climates, winter Soil pH: 6.5-7.5 Exposure: Full sun Soil Drainage: Well-draining Time to Maturity: 30-35 days for greens, 50-65 days for roots Companion Planting: Cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, cauliflower, broccoli Spacing: When direct sowing, plant a 1 inch intervals and then thin to 3 inches when plants are 2-3 inches tall Avoid Planting With: Pole beans, members of the mustard family Planting Depth: 1/4 - 1/2 inch Family: Amaranthaceae Height: 1 to 3 feet Genus: Beta Spread: 10 feet or more Species: vulgaris Water Needs: Moderate Sub Species: vulgaris Common Pests: Flea beetles, cabbage loopers, blister beetles, grasshoppers, rabbits, deer Common Diseases: Damping off, curly top virus, cercospora leaf spot.The best part of growing this ruby-red gem: it’s delicious and healthy, if you learn the right ways to cook and eat it! .
How to Grow Beets
Better yet, the classic beet's red coloring comes from betalains — a combination of the purple and yellow pigments that deter the formation of cancer-causing free radicals."The betalain pigments are potent antioxidants," says Irwin Goldman, Ph.D., a beet geneticist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.Beetroots' rich reds, golden yellows, creamy whites, and stunning stripes will add a brilliant splash of seasonal color to your autumn meals.And if you allow a little of the foliage to continue growing, you get plump roots that you can store and eat after cold weather sets in.Beets are adapted to grow in cool temperatures, making them a perfect vegetable to plant both in spring and late summer.Sow the seeds in full sun for the best roots; if you don't have a sunny spot in your garden, plant them anyway — beets still produce a lot of leafy greens in partial shade.Add a bit of wood ash, if handy, because its rich supply of potassium enhances root growth.Spread a layer of grass clippings, shredded leaves, or straw around your beet patch to help keep the moisture consistent — that's essential for uniform root growth.Get a pot that's at least 12 inches deep and you can grow beets on your deck, suggests Lance Frazon of John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds in Bantam, Connecticut.You can plant beet seeds directly in your garden about eight to 10 weeks before the first expected frost and harvest them in time for the holidays.Beets do transplant surprisingly easily for a root crop, so you can germinate the seeds inside and move them to the garden as soon as the soil dries out in spring.For instance, you can prevent diseases by rotating crops of beets, spinach, and Swiss chard with other types of vegetables.To keep leaf miners and other pests away, simply place row covers over your beets during the insects' busiest time between May and late June.When harvesting larger beets, leave 1 to 2 inches of the stems attached to prevent any staining or "bleeding.".Heirloom Favorite: Detroit Dark Red, a classic dating to 1892, is still one of the best for sweet roots and tasty greens.Cold-Tolerant: Bull's Blood is an heirloom with gorgeous dark maroon-red leaves that provide a great splash of color for salads.Asian style: "I like to stir-fry them or steam them with a little honey glaze," says Radish Bruce, of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Virginia.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .
When to Harvest Beets So They Are Just Right
Filled with nutrients and a great addition to salads and other dishes, you might be ready to dig into the beets in your garden.In this guide, we’ll help you identify if your homegrown beets are plump and ready for picking.Keeping track of when you first planted the beets is the most crucial step to ensuring a timely harvest.Therefore, you can determine how small or large the beets are using the size of their “shoulders” as a guide.It won’t take long to learn how to gauge a beet’s size using this method.Some faster-growing varieties such as Bull’s Blood and Merlin Hybrid can be mature in less than 50 days.Depending on the types of beets you grow, you can leave some in the ground for up to 4 months (12 weeks).As the beets stay in the ground longer, they will continue to mature and grow larger.If you have several beet plants growing, it’s best to cultivate them at different times to see what size you prefer.The beetroot isn’t the only part of the plant that people consider before choosing a time to harvest.If you’d like a milder leaf flavor, aim to gather the beets around the 45-day mark.Carefully snip one or two of the largest, outer leaves from each plant so that the beets will continue growing.Depending on the variety you plant, the green leaves and red stalks and stems grow to varying heights.Larger beetroots, which also correspond with a darker green color, have tops with a stronger flavor.If you did a fall planting in August to mid-September, beets will be ready late September through early November.Since many people prefer to pull up small batches of beets at a time, the first method is most common.The good news is that if you pick beets on time, they store well for up to a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.Keep the beet greens in the refrigerator crisper and wash them when you are ready to use them.In fact, if you live in a place with mild winters, you can even squeeze in a third planting season.It’s equally important to know when to harvest beets as it is how to tell if you waited too long to pick them.Once you plant beet seeds in loose, nutrient-rich soil, you can expect to see the first germination within ten days.Beets then enter the rosette growth stage when they grow and begin covering large parts of the ground.The flowering, fruit, and ripening stages follow, which are all excellent times to harvest beets.One of the biggest reasons that beets grow slowly is because they are planted too close together.Doing so offers the roots plenty of room to grow large bulbs, and it also ensures enough sunlight reaches the leaves.Another reason your beets might be growing too slow is that the soil has too much nitrogen and not enough phosphorus to balance it out.In that case, you’ll most likely notice that your beets have beautiful, lush tops but little signs of the beetroot poking up above the soil.Alternatively, pour some bone meal around the soil and watch just how quickly your beets grow.It’s also vital that you plant your beets in sandy, airy soil so that the roots can more easily grow.You can even try planting a new batch every couple of weeks in the early spring and fall so that you can enjoy fresh beets at the size of your liking for a longer period. .
Like most vegetables, beets prefer growing in full sun and they like to get about 1" of water each week.Beets are cold tolerant, so they can be planted in early spring, several weeks before the last frost date.If you want the most food for the garden space, wait until the root has filled out to several inches in diameter.Depending on the variety, most beets will still be tender and flavorful, even when the root measures 4 or 5 inches across.Early season crops such as lettuce and peas can be replaced by a midsummer planting of beets.Gently brush off any soil, put the beets into a plastic bag (do not seal it up), and store them in your refrigerator crisper. .
How to Plant and Grow Beets
Sow beets in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring.Beetroots can be red, orange, gold, yellow, white, and even concentrically ringed roots.Grow beets in full sun or partial shade in warm regions.Plant beets in well-worked loose soil rich in organic matter.Be sure to remove all stones and clods from planting beds so as not to impede or split growing roots.Add plenty of aged compost to growing beds in advance of planting; this will increase the yield.Alternatively, add 3 cups (700ml) of dried seaweed per 100 square feet (9 sq m).Carefully sprinkle 1 to 1.5 tablespoons (6-9g) of household borax along 100 feet (30m) of row and work it into the soil.Sow beets in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring.In hot-summer regions, stop sowing 60 days before full summer heat arrives.When direct sowing during summer, keep the soil constantly moist or germination will be poor.Late plantings that mature through winter will be the sweetest because the roots store sugars during cool weather.Beets are grown from seed clusters about the size of a small pea.Because beet seeds will not germinate in heavy clay soil, transplants are a better choice.Lack of water will cause roots to become stunted, stringy, and tough.Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of seeding.To conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds, water the beets well and then put down a layer of mulch between the rows at least 4 inches (10cm) deep.If slugs are a problem, wait until the plants are a few inches tall before mulching.Thin beets as soon as they are about 3 inches (7.6cm) tall to avoid crowding which can hinder root growth.If young plants flower and go to seed it is likely caused by temperatures below 50°F (10°C) or lack of moisture.Adjust the planting time to avoid cold exposure; keep the soil consistently moist.Black spots or brown hearts in roots can be caused by a lack of boron in the soil.Leafminers can tunnel inside the leaf surface leaving gray streaks.Young beet greens can be cut for salads about one month after planting.Beets will keep for 1 to 3 months in damp sawdust in a cold, moist place.For long-term storage, you can pack beets in containers of moist sand or peat and keep them in an unheated basement or garage (40-50°F/4.5-10°C is ideal).In cold-winter regions, you can store beets in an outdoor pit lined with dry leaves and straw.‘Chioggia’ has sweet roots with rings of red and white when sliced; use the greens in place of spinach; grow from seed in 54 days.‘Cylindra’ has long dark red roots which are ideal for pickling; ready for harvest 60 days from seed.‘Red Ace’ is fast growing with sweet roots and tasty greens; it is resistant to leaf spot; ready 50 days from seed. .
Growing and Harvesting Beets Year-Round
Follow this guide for the best way to grow beets in all seasons, companion planting tips, and more.Interestingly, they are also related to common edible weeds such as goosefoot, lamb’s quarters, and pigweed.This crop yields a beautiful two-for-one harvest: Nutritious greens as well as nutrient dense roots.A cool-season vegetable, they grow best in the spring and fall seasons, but can be nurtured through winter and summer as well with a little extra care.I was able to grow 80 pounds of vegetables by focusing on shade-friendly root and leaf crops (like beets and carrots) in my forest garden.Two weeks before planting I loosen the soil about six to eight inches deep with a digging fork in my no-till garden.Gourmet Blend Beet Seeds: Enjoy this beautiful combo of ‘Chioggia’, ‘Detroit Dark Red’, and ‘Golden Boy’!Beets do well in container gardens, and you’ll enjoy growing any of the varieties listed above!This crop, like many root vegetables, does not tolerate transplanting very well, so your best bet is to sow it directly in the garden.Once the seedlings have grown to about four to five inches high, mulch in between the rows to help retain moisture and keep weeds down.Companion plants assist each other in growing well, and Carrots Love Tomatoes (CLT) is the classic guide on the topic.But take caution: While many of the recommended plant combinations are supported by science, others appear to be old wives’ tales.When harvesting a row/block of beets, blend in some compost soil, aged manure, or worm castings, and then sow that row/block again.You can sow beets four weeks earlier than normal in the spring when using a cold frame.Beets are hardy to around 29 degrees unprotected, so if you don’t have a cold frame, you can start sowing them about two weeks before your spring frost date.Used together, row covers and cold frames can help you grow beets down to 15-18 degrees F, allowing you to harvest almost year-round, especially if you mulch well.Beets are most often afflicted by fungal related diseases such as leaf spot and downy mildew.To reduce the chances of fungal infections, thin seedlings to allow for good air flow.If your garden area is typically waterlogged with heavy soil, raised beds may be your best chance for success.Line your garden with fragrant, anti-fungal herbs or mulch with them to help prevent a fungal outbreak.Cut the greens about one inch above the root top and store them separately at around 32 degrees F with 90-95% humidity.For example, grate fresh beets over a salad for a pop of color and nutrition without affecting the taste (seriously!This root crop is a really unique and easy vegetable to grow, and a good way to add more nutrition to your homegrown and home-cooked meals. .