15 March 2014

Growing Beets from Seed - direct sow or grow in flats

Sowing, thinning and growing beets can be challenging to grow in our area. Now that it's time to get those seeds into the ground - here are some success tips. The thinnings will give you great salad and sandwich greens, then the beets themselves are delicious raw in grated beet salad and cooked with butter and vinegar toppings.


Each seed that comes out of the envelope is actually a capsule of seeds. Watch this helpful Burpee video on how to pre-soak, plant, thin, space, and harvest your crop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQXsssaYoV4


If you prefer to start your beet seeds in flats, here's a helpful how-to video from Gary Pilarchik
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dU-NZ3ZyDs


Most people suggest soaking the seeds overnight to get them to germinate faster. They are planted .5 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart, depending on whether you want to grow plenty of tops for salad.


The planting row has to be kept moist, so top it with burlap, compost or another moisture retention material and expect to water daily until you see them coming up 5 to 10 days after seeding. Their germination temperature is pretty broad - 55 to 75.


Beets need full sun and like all root crops and bulb-forming plants they need potassium (the middle number on the fertilizer container).


One source for beet varieties is David's Garden Seeds at http://www.davids-garden-seeds-and-products.com though I usually just buy them at the local garden center.


Our in-ground beet row was planted yesterday - about 6-feet long. Today the flat will get planted!



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