The Problem With Beet Seeds
Beet seeds are small, with a diameter of less than half an inch (1 cm). They grow very slowly and take many years before they produce fruit. Their size makes them difficult to store or transport. A single seed weighs about 1/4 ounce (13 gm) and takes up only one square centimeter (0.2 sq in.) of space in your refrigerator!
A Few Things You Can Do To Help Your Seedlings Grow Faster And Produce Fruity Fruit
You can buy larger seeds from a local farmer’s market. These seeds will usually have a variety number printed on them so you can tell which ones are bigger. If you live in an area where farmers’ markets are not common, then you may need to look online for these varieties. When buying large seed packets, make sure the package says “Seed Pouch” on it. You can use a coffee filter to strain out any seeds that might fall into the seed pouches.
Store the seeds in a cool place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Make sure there is at least an inch (25 mm) between each seed packet when you’re storing them. Keep the container tightly sealed so air cannot get inside and cause mold growth.
Other Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Growing Beets
In addition to the tips above, you can also improve your chances of growing beets by doing the following: Make sure your soil is soft and crumbly. It should have a neutral pH level, such as 6.5. Most importantly, make sure the container has good drainage holes so that water can flow out of it. If you are planning on growing the beet in a pot, then make sure the container is deep enough to prevent the beet from touching the water.
If You Decide To Go With A Heavier Soil, Then Consider Using Rocks Or Pellets Instead
If you choose to go with a heavier soil, then consider using rocks or pellets instead. This will help add weight to the container and also provide nutrients that your beets can use for growth and development. You can find small rocks at most home improvement stores. These rocks come in a variety of colors and sizes and are often less than a dollar per pound. They also have no discernible odor, so they will not affect the taste of your beets.
There are also many different types of soil conditioners and potting soils that you can use to improve drainage in your pot. These are readily available at most garden centers and can often be used instead of rocks or peat moss. The only drawback is that these can be a bit more expensive than using just plain rocks.
Once The Beets Are Growing Well, You Can Transplant Them To Grow Even Larger
Once the beets are growing well, you can transplant them to grow into even larger beets. To do this, you can get a larger pot and fill it with your soil of choice. Make sure that there are holes in the bottom of the pot to allow for proper drainage. Place a small amount of rocks at the bottom of the pot, if desired. Place your beets into the pot and keep them watered as usual.
The beets should grow to a much larger size than they would have grown in just the small container, without taking up much more space. The beets should grow to a size of around eight to ten inches (20 to 25cm) in diameter and weigh up to five pounds (2.2).
Take a moment to enjoy your new beets since they will most likely be the largest you’ve ever had! Beets are really easy to grow if you put a little extra effort into the container that you will grow them in. Try growing other vegetables using the same steps mentioned above and you’ll surely have great success!
Easy Kitchen Gadgets To Help You Cook Your Beets
There are a few kitchen gadgets you can use while cooking your beets, to make your experience more enjoyable.
Mandolin Slicer – A mandolin slicer is a small kitchen tool that has multiple blades of different thicknesses. It allows you to slice vegetables into very thin pieces and it makes the whole process very quick and easy. These are fairly inexpensive and you can find them at most home goods stores or online.
Food Processor – A food processor is another kitchen gadget that allows you to quickly and easily chop up your vegetables or other foods. They can be a little more expensive than a mandolin slicer, but they can save you a lot of time when preparing food. These are also widely available at most home goods stores or online.
Blender – When chopping up your vegetables into small pieces, it’s always nice to have them the same size and a blender allows you to do just that. You can also make delicious fruit smoothies with your blender. These are a little more expensive than the other kitchen gadgets, but they are very useful and can be used for more than just chopping vegetables.
Water Bath Canner – A water bath canner is a large pot that has been specifically designed to cook foods that need to be preserved. You can find these easily online or at most home goods stores.
These kitchen gadgets are not necessary to enjoy your beets, but they can make the process more enjoyable and save you some time!
Common Beet Questions
How Many Beets Should I Grow?
The amount of beets that you actually grow will rely on how much storage space you have. Three to five plants should provide enough beets to feed a small family for a few weeks, especially if you are eating other foods as well. You can always store the remaining beets in your fridge or freezer.
What If My Beets Have Wilted Greens?
It is very normal for your beet greens to begin to wilt a few days after the beets themselves have been pulled from the ground. The beet greens are still edible and nutritious if they are wilted, but many people prefer to cook them and eat them that way, rather than having the additional nutrients available in their greens go to waste.
All you need to do is chop up the beet greens and add them to a meal as you normally would. They can be cooked or eaten raw. Since beet greens have a very strong taste, it’s not recommended that you eat more than an ounce of them per day.
If you don’t want to use all of the wilted beet greens right away, store what you aren’t using in a container covered with a wet paper towel. This will help keep them fresh longer. You can also freeze the greens for later use.
How Can I Use Beets That Are Still Good But Aren’t Fresh Enough To Eat?
Beets that are not fresh enough to eat can actually still be used as animal feed if you have animals, or they can be used to make DIY beet juice. You can also chop and freeze the beets before storing them in your freezer for later use.
How Long Are Beets Good For Once They’ve Been Picked?
Beets are actually very hardy and can last for months after they have been pulled from the ground. They are one of the foods that can last the longest when stored in your home or root cellar.
They are best eaten within the first couple of weeks after harvest, but if you absolutely cannot eat them right away, beets will still last for at least four to six weeks under the right conditions.
Can You Eat The Root Skins On Beets?
The beet skin is too tough to be eaten on its own, but it can be used as natural colorant for foods and drinks. You can use the skins to dye pasta, cake batter, or other recipes that require color.
Simply chop up the beet skins and cook them with oil or butter to infuse their natural color into whatever you are cooking before adding the food coloring of your choice.
There are not many diseases that attack beets like there are with other types of plants, but there are a few worth mentioning that can cause issues.
Take care not to over water your beets, as this will cause them to rot and die quicker than they normally would. When watering your garden, give the beet leaves a good spritz too. If you notice the leaves begin to yellow and droop, this means that you are overwatering them. Cut back on how often you water them and this should fix the problem.
If you notice your leaves begin to yellow and droop, but the rest of the plant is still upright and firm, you are probably under watering your beets.
Beets also have very sensitive taproots, and if they are disturbed at all they can easily die. If you are tilling your garden bed, take extra care not to damage the roots, and if you are pulling the beets out by hand, make sure to only use gloves or your hands could easily get scraped up on account of the taproots.
Insects and Pests
There are few insects that will actually feed on beets so you don’t need to worry about pest control very much. You may have to deal with some leaf miners or cutworms every once in awhile, but as long as you take some preventative measures, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Leaf miners are tiny black and yellow critters that live beneath the soil and come out at night to eat small holes through the leaves of your beet plants. To keep them under control, make sure to keep your soil weeded so they don’t have any place to hide during the day. You can also spray your plants with some diluted hot pepper spray to keep the leaf miners away.
Cutworms are grey or brown caterpillars that chew through the stems of your plants at night. You can easily prevent them from eating your beets by placing a cutworm shield around each plant. You can make these out of old plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, or anything similar. The pests will crawl under it and not be able to get to your plants.
Harvesting Your Beets
You can begin to harvest your beets about 56 to 70 days after initially planting them. Each beet plant will grow a few large roots, and then several smaller ones after that. Take care not to yank the entire plant out of the ground, as you will want to leave some behind to keep growing and producing more beets for you to enjoy.
The best way to harvest is to grab the beet by the leaves and pull it out of the ground. If it comes out easily, you know that you’ve got a good grip on it and won’t be pulling the entire plant up. Pick the leaves you want to use and then put the rest into a bag for later use.
Clean and store your beets in a dark, cool place like a cellar or pantry until you are ready to use them.
Remember, fresh beets lose their wonderful deep red color when exposed to sunlight, so only store them in areas that are completely dark.
You can slice them and eat them raw, or cook them however you like!
You can even pickle them, can them or make them into pickled beet chips.
Growing beets definitely take up more space in your garden than other root vegetables, but they are well worth the effort as long as you have the room for them. They’re nutritious, delicious and have multiple uses, so you will save money by growing your own!
Sources & references used in this article:
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