Beets - Key Growing Information

A half-dozen freshly harvested, cylindrical beet roots with their nutrient-dense tops still attached.

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Beta vulgaris
CULTURE: First-rate crops grow quickly in light or loamy soils with a pH over 6.0. In general, cool temperatures produce the best flesh color. Acute weather fluctuations will cause zoning (white rings) in the roots.
TRANSPLANTING: Sow seed in a cold frame or indoors in early spring, about 5-6 weeks before transplanting out after heavy frosts become infrequent. Sow seeds 1/2" deep, 3-4 seeds per inch. Transplant out 3" apart in rows 12-18" apart.
DIRECT SEEDING: Begin early sowings when soil has warmed to 45°F/7°C. Sow 15 seeds/ft. 1/2" deep, rows 12-18" apart. Thin to 1 plant per 2". For a continuous supply of greens and small tender beets, sow seed at 2-week intervals until 8 weeks before regular heavy frosts are expected.
DISEASES: Keep beets well irrigated to prevent scab, the same disorder that affects potatoes, causing raised brown rough spots on the mature roots. Internal breakdown or browning is most likely to occur in alkaline soils after prolonged hot, dry periods. This is caused by a deficiency of the nutrient boron. Rotate crops to prevent Cercospora leaf spot.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Fork or undermine, lift plants, wash and hydrocool, and store bunches 10 days at 32°F/0°C and 95% relative humidity.
WINTER STORAGE OF ROOTS: Sow about 10 weeks before heavy freeze is expected. Cut tops, wash, and store 6 months at 32°F (0°C) and 95% humidity.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From direct seeding; subtract 14-21 days if transplants are used.
AVG. SEEDING RATE: 1M/66', 5M/333', 436M/acre @15 seeds/ft. and 18" between rows.
SIZED SEEDS: Standard except where noted.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: Avg. 37,000.
PACKET: 350 seeds, sows 23'.