This superb summer vegetable can be eaten cold, hot or even pickled. Greens can be juiced, steamed or picked as baby greens and tossed into salads. They come in some snazzy shapes and colors as well. If you have never tried golden beets, I think you should give them a try! We love them roasted! Chioggia beets are beautiful and have pink and white rings. Once cooked though, the colors bleed and become mostly one color. We grow the Giant Yellow Eckendorf beet for our goats. They love it and it makes a great feed for them. There are plenty of choices to try from for variety.
We plant beets as early as March 1st and sow till the end of May, or even on cooler years through June. Sow seeds every two weeks starting in March for longer harvest times.
Beets like rich soil that has a pH around 6.5. Work in plenty of well-rotted compost into your garden beds and add rock phosphate natural rock dust fertilizer to help pump beets up. If they are sluggish during the growing season, you can feed with a liquid fertilizer right on there foliage to stimulate healthy growth.
You can hasten the germination by placing your beet seeds into a sieve and running cold water over them for a few minutes. Sow seeds 1″ apart, with 1/4″ of soil over them. You can plant them in narrow rows or in wide patterns. Once beets are big enough to thin, thin to about 3-4″ apart. Many times I take the thinnings and transplant them to another spot in the garden. I guess I just can’t let a good seedling to waste! Otherwise, use the tender greens in tossed salads. No waste here!
Keep weeds out by pulling carefully so you don’t disturb the roots. Mulch through the growing season to help suppress weeds and keep soil moist and cool. We use compost for mulch. It feeds at the same time!
Harvesting is a matter of preference in my opinion, but it should be before they become woody. Early harvesting of baby beets are are done at golf ball size and are the most tender. Main crops are lifted when the beets reach the size of a tennis ball.