Beets

Many people don’t like beets, and it’s not the taste, it’s just that…oh, never mind. But color aside this is one of the tastiest vegetables anywhere, if grown right, and the greens are even more nutritions than the root – containing more iron and minerals than spinach, with roots rich in potassium, fiber, and many other vitamins.

We sow in a foot-wide (or wider) bed, ½ inch deep and an inch or two apart in loose soil. As with beans, I rake a bed smooth, broadcast seeds, and shovel soil over them. You can do this as soon as you can work the soil. Beets are tastiest grown fast and wet, so mulch the bed lightly with leaf mold, compost, or grass clippings to hold moisture but not prevent germination. We harvest beets at 2 inches thick, no more than 3, add the greens to a salad or steam them. Beets themselves I boil in a covered saucepan until fork tender. Drop them in cold water, slip the skins off, and serve whole, in quarters, or sliced with an egg slicer with butter. Red Ace is my favorite, but a close second is Touchstone Gold, a golden beet. Both are sweet and tender.

You can sow in two-week intervals untilo 8 weeks before expected fall frost, but in summer soak the seeds for 12 hours to aid germination. Fall beets can e left in the ground, mulched heavily to keep out frost, and pulled up through winter. A little cold sweetens most any root vegetable. Isn’t that nice?

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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