Scientific name: Beta vulgaris
Family name: Chenopodiaceae
Cultivar groups: Beet root, Sugar beet, Spinach beet, Chard
Warm season or cool season: Cool season
Planting instructions: Direct seed or transplant? Direct seed
Space between plants/between rows: Plant seeds ½” deep, spaced 1” apart with 12-18” between rows. Thin seedlings to 1-3” apart.
Fertility requirements: Soil pH of 6.0-6.8. 3lbs of 10-10-10 is best fertilizer ratio for most varieties. Fertilize soil seven days before planting. Provide plant with boron to prevent soft spots. Does well with compost, well-rotted manure, bone meal, and wood ashes.
Watering needs: Beets do best with several moderate watering sessions as opposed to one heavy watering. Prone to rotting and too much water will increase the chances of this. Rule of thumb is If soil is moist 3” deep, do not water. 1-3 times per week.
Number of days from seed to transplant and/or seed to harvest: 45-65 days
Insect pest considerations: Root Knot Nematode, Darkling Beetle, and Leaf Miners
Plant pathogen considerations: Damping off, Cercospora Leaf Spot, Downy Mildew, and Scab
Average yields: 7-10 tons per acre
Harvest and post-harvest guidelines: Water prior to harvesting to make pulling out beets easier. Harvest at 2.5-5 centimeters for salad, 7 centimeters for maximum tenderness. can grow to 15 centimeters and are best stored in cool conditions with the tops cut off. Long term storage should be below 32 degrees fahrenheit.
HARVEST & STORAGE INFORMATION:
When to harvest: just before the first hard freeze at a size of about 1 ¼ – 3 inches in diameter
How to harvest: pull beets by hand or dig out with a trowel. Harvest in dry conditions when the soil will easily come off of the roots. Trim the tops off close to the root leaving ¼ inch of top material (more than this will lead to decay, less will cause the beet to dry out faster. Cut the taproot off prior to storage.
Optimal time of day to harvest: Harvest beets in the morning before they accumulate too much field heat. Do not wash beets, getting them wet can encourage decay, and washing them will remove much of the beneficial bacteria that occupy the thin layer of soil on the roots. These bacteria actually help fight decay.
Best method to cool: To cool the beets after harvest, put them in a cool, dark place away from the sun.
Optimal storage temperature and relative humidity: For long-term storage, pack in plastic bags or in sealed containers filled with damp sand. All varieties of beets will keep for 3-5 months when stored at 32*F and 90-100% humidity
Common post harvest losses/problems: Common post harvest losses and problems with this crop come from with decay and rot. Boron deficiencies can lead to cracking of the outer skin. Molds and bacteria can also affect beets if stored improperly.
Farm to YouNH Crop Data:
|Year||Crop||Variety||Date Planted||Date Harvested||Days to Harvest||Total Yield (lbs)||Yield (lbs/sq. ft)|