Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Heirloom Beets

Beets are easy to grow.  Plant your seeds about 3 inches apart for best results.  A beet seed is often referred to as a flower seed because 3 or more beets can grow from a single seed.  As the beets mature, carefully harvest the largest beet from the group and let the smaller ones continue to mature.  Keep harvesting  using this method until there is a single beet left and allow it to grow until the end of the season.  I leave several of the biggest beets in the ground to winter over (hoping the gophers don't find them) and collect the seed from them the following year. 

I particularly like to grow the Heirloom beet  "Cylindra".  This beet grows long roots that are just the right size for slicing to make pickled beets.  They are tasty in a fresh beet salad and the deep dark purple color makes a nice dye for hand spun yarn.

The Heirloom "Chioggia"  is an interesting beet to grow.  It has rings inside.  The taste in my opinion is not quite as earthy as the other beets I grow.  I do not like it quite as well, but it's unique colors make it a ,must in my garden!

The good ole stand by "Detroit Red"  produces  extremely well.  But my all time favorite is "Golden".  This beet does not preform as well as the other beets.  It takes a little more care, and make sure to keep the seeds moist after planting.  The germination rate is not quite as high as other beets.  The amazing taste is why I fuss over this beet.  It has the wonderful "earthy" taste of other beets, but I find is has a sweetness to it that puts it on the top of my list.

 My favorite is the "Golden Beet"

starting at far left:  Cilantro,  Bull's Blood Beets and Clyindra Beets

I intentionally plant my beets very thickly.  The greens (tops) are harvested  for market all through the summer.  In mid summer I begin picking through them and harvest the beets that are "baby beet" size. 
 Cutting the tops off the beets does not inhibit their growth because they quickly send up new leaves.  If you are growing for greens specifically, the Bull's Blood Beet and the Chioggia are good choices, but any beet variety will give you a good harvest of greens.  As the summer progresses I continue to harvest the beets as they mature.  By late summer I have thinned them out sufficiently for the roots to mature into a large beet.  I love baby beets with the greens intact, simmered until soft.  Eaten with a pat of butter and a splash of vinegar.  Try them roasted along with baby carrots and new potatoes.
I has been a while since I posted.  Been busier  than a hive of bees around here.  Hope everyone is getting their gardens in and that all your efforts will be rewarded with a big, bountiful harvest!

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