Despite the fact that I really don't like beets, I grew them anyway. My husband likes them and I was bamboozled by my neighbor, Laura, who convinced me that if I just roast them, I'd love them. (She was right.....sort of.) On the positive side - even if you don't like beets, you may like beet greens. I do. I was clipping off those salty tasty leaves all summer and tossing them into salad. I even grew beet micro greens, which were tiny leafy treats to toss into a salad for great flavor.
I did find a way to get myself to eat beets - you can get the recipe for 'Beet Sliders' here, which helped me turn the corner - I'm trying to learn to love them. I'm getting there.
There are many different colors and forms beets take - some are large, some small; some red, others orange, yellow or white; some are round, others cylindrical. Like any cool-season crop, you still plant them around the same time you do your summer veggies. You just don't have to be in a hurry to pull them up at the end of summer. I just pulled mine out of the ground very recently and they could have withstood frost, so they could have stayed in the ground even longer.
But, I didn't grow much this year (and they really were small). Trying it for the first time, I just picked up a few plants in May at the Maplewood Garden Club sale. This coming season, I'll grow them again, but will start from seed if I can.
Thinking of growing beets? Here are a few tips:
- If planting by seed, plant them about 1/2 inch deep, 1-2 inches apart. Thin the plants to about 3-4 inches apart a few weeks after germination.
- Start sowing seeds about a month before the last spring frost and then do another planting 2-3 weeks later. They'll sprout best in soil that is above 50 degrees (F). If planting for fall, plant them about 10-12 weeks before the expected first fall frost.
- You can clip off the greens throughout the growing season, but be sure to leave some leaves on (don't remove too many). They'll continue to grow more leaves, but the leaves deliver nutrients, so the plant needs them.
- Keep them well watered throughout the season.