Growing Beets

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.

Salad made entirely from my garden goods, including beet greens & beet micro greens

Salad made entirely from my garden goods, including beet greens & beet micro greens

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.

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine