Gardening Articles


Beets will root far deeper and wider than most people realize--in uncompacted, nonacid soils. Double or triple dig the subsoil directly below the seed row. _Sowing date:_ Early April at Elkton, late March farther south, and as late as April 30 in British Columbia.

Beet seed germinates easily in moist, cool soil. A single sowing may be harvested from June through early March the next year. If properly thinned, good varieties remain tender. _Spacing:_ A single row will gradually exhaust subsoil moisture from an area 4 feet wide. When the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin carefully to about 1 inch apart. When the edible part is radish size, thin to 2 inches apart and eat the thinings, tops and all. When they've grown to golfball size, thin to 4 inches apart, thin again. When they reach the size of large lemons, thin to 1 foot apart. Given this much room and deep, open soil, the beets will continue to grow through the entire summer. Hill up some soil over the huge roots early in November to protect them from freezing. _Irrigation:_ Probably not necessary with over 4 feet of deep, open soil. _Varieties:_ I've done best with Early Wonder Tall Top; when large, it develops a thick, protective skin and retains excellent eating quality. Winterkeepers, normally sown in midsummer with irrigation, tend to bolt prematurely when sown in April.

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