Beetroot

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Beta vulgaris

Tops are strong. A standard type for the home garden or direct market sales. Uniform, 3" round roots store well and are excellent for fresh eating or canning.

Beets (Beta vulgaris) are hardy biennials in the Chenopodiaceae family, which also includes spinach, chard, orach and quinoa.

Beets appreciate loose, well drained soils with acidity between 6.2 and 6.8, but they will tolerate 6.0-7.5 and a wide range of soil textures. Heavy clay soils can be helped by the addition of organic matter, but make sure it is well composted or it will increase the risk of scab. Best quality arises from deeply cultivated raised beds, free of stones and debris. Fertilize with the ratio of 1-2-2 (N-P-K) seven days before seeding. 1-3 side dressings may be necessary. Beets can suffer from internal black spot if boron levels are inadequate. Use 1lb of boron per acre.

Keep beets well weeded. Beets fighting for space become tough and stringy.

Too much nitrogen can cause a lot of leaf growth at the expense of root development.

Harvest when roots reach desired size. For winter storage, allow crop to stand for a few mild frosts, but harvest before a hard freeze. For beet greens, harvest starting around five weeks, or when leaves are ~3”. Use floating row covers to extend season.

Optimal storage conditions for roots are 32°F and 95% humidity, cut tops at 1” above crown, wash and let dry. Roots store well for up to 6 months. For best storage of greens, cool with water immediately after harvest and refrigerate in a plastic bag to retain moisture.

Leafhoppers are small wedge shaped insects suck the juice from leaves rather than eating holes through them. If leaves are yellowing and curling under, examine the underside for leafhoppers.

Flea beetles can present a problem, particularly for young plants, by chewing small holes in the leaves.  Healthy plants usually outgrow the damage to produce a fine crop.

Aphids can be washed off plants with a hard stream of water. They have several natural predators that control populations including parasites (aphids appear grey or bloated), lady beetle larvae and lacewings.

Leaf spots are commonly caused by either Cercospora beticola or Phoma batae and are most  prevalent in mid-late summer, during periods of frequent rainfall and high humidity. 

Grown and potted using: Organic heirloom open pollinated seed, organic nutrient rich soil (vg), 80mm biodegradable certified organic wood chip pot (no transplanting required).