How To Grow Beets
Beets Are Not Boring
Beets may not be the most popular vegetable in the garden, but they are far from boring. Beets come in an array of colors including scarlet, red, white, yellow and swirly. They are a little more difficult to grow, but with a little know how, you will have success.
Beets do not need a deep container, or bed to grow in so as long as you have at least six inches of dirt, you can grow beets. Beets need loose soil that drains well. Start with a high quality potting soil like Sungro Fafard 3 B mix, and they also like it heavy on the compost. My favorite mix for root crops like beets happens to be one part Sungro Fafard 3B mix to two parts Black Kow Organic Compost. Make sure your soil is free of lumps, and light and fluffy. The soil is your vegetable's home- but not it's food.
Fertilizer is very important, as it's your plant's food. Beets like a well balanced fertilizer like 6-7-7. Start fertilizing your plants after they reach two inches tall. Repeat every three weeks. Beets only need a small pinch per plant. Always place fertilizer an inch away from your beet plants and make sure your fertilizer doesn't touch the plant, as it will burn it.
Beet seeds can be as ornery as a red headed mare, but with a few tips, you will have this beast tamed. Remember that with most seeds, the height of the seed is how deep you want to plant. Beet seeds are very tiny, so barely cover them with dirt. Plant your seeds three inches apart. The beet seed is actually a hard shell that contains several seeds within them. You must keep this shell moist so that it will soften. Keep the seeds well watered as they germinate.
When they begin to sprout, you will notice them coming up in clumps, because each shell contains multiple seeds. Thin them out so that you have one plant for every four inches.
Because our winters are so mild in South Carolina, you can plant them from late September until February. Growth will slow during the coldest of temperatures, but they are frost tolerant, and will still give you a good yield. Beets need plenty of sun- at least six hours.
This root crop will take anywhere from forty five to sixty five days until it's ready to harvest. Harvest before they get too big, and don't throw away the tops. They are delicious too.
Beets are definitely worth the work. They have nitrates that help lower blood pressure, and they are rich in B vitamins. You can boil them, steam them, or roast them. The tops can be sauteed. Beet tops contain vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. What's not to love?
No matter how you cook them, beets are healthy and add color to any dish. Give them a try and let us know how you do. As always, Get Growing South Carolina.
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