As summer turns to fall in places that have a fall, and the temperatures at least drop below 100 here in Texas, cool season crops can go in the ground. In fact, beets are supposed to be planted in the next two weeks in my part of Texas. When exactly you plant them varies, as with all crops, with your climate.
Beets are nice because you can eat both the tops, as greens, and the bottoms as root vegetables. About ten feet of row will feed the average person per gardening season. Since beets can be canned, pickled, or eaten fresh, you can have some all year.
Beets will do okay in partial shade, but their tap roots go down 36 to 48 inches, so do not plant them where tree roots, pipes, or other objects will compete with or block the root. Well drained soil that is easy for the root to penetrate is best. Beets will not grow well in boron deficient soil, so a soil test to tell is you need to add that is important.
Beet seeds will produce 2-6 plants, so you need to plant them half an inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart on the row. In 7-14 days, you should see little beet plants coming up. You will need to thin them so they are an inch or so apart or they will not have room to grow. Further thinning is necessary as the beets continue to grow and crowd each other. The thinned plants make good eating as the tender greens compliment the tender root.
After 7-8 weeks, beets may be harvested. Pull them and cut off the tap root, leaving the globe and greens. If the greens are going to be eaten, they need to be washed and put in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They will keep a couple of days that way. The root will keep 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Beets can be cooked and served fresh, canned, or pickled. Right at Home even has a recipe for chocolate cake that uses beets.
One caution is not to let them get too big. Those big globes in the grocery store are not very tasty. According to the Grumpy Granny, she had always hated beets until she grew her own baby beets. She shares a couple of good recipes that are new to me too, so check that post out.
Want beets but can’t grow things outside? You are in luck. According to BStone, beets are the perfect container grown vegetable. They do not require much maintenance and like not having to compete with weeds for food.
For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!