Beets are a root vegetable that are known for their deep, reddish-purple color and sweet, earthy flavor. They are commonly roasted, boiled, or pickled, and can also be eaten raw in salads. The leaves of the beet plant, called beet greens, are also edible and can be cooked like spinach or added to salads. Beets are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as folate, manganese, and potassium, making them a healthy addition to any diet. They are also a good source of antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Grow Beets Organically
- Choose a location: Beets need full sun, but they also grow well in partial shade. The soil should be well-draining and have a pH between 6.0-7.5.
- Planting: Sow beet seeds directly into the ground about 2-3 weeks before the last expected frost in the spring. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 2-3 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. As beets grow, thin them out so that each beet has about 3 inches of space around it.
- Watering: Beets need consistent moisture to grow well. Water them deeply once a week, making sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
- Fertilizer: Beets are light feeders, so they don’t need much fertilizer. However, adding a layer of compost or well-rotted manure before planting can help improve soil fertility.
- Pest control: Beets are relatively pest-free, but you may need to watch out for leaf miners, aphids, and flea beetles. You can use natural pest control methods like insecticidal soap, neem oil, or diatomaceous earth to keep pests at bay.
- Harvesting: Beets are usually ready to harvest 50-60 days after planting. You can tell they’re ready when the beet “shoulders” are visible above the soil line. To harvest, gently pull the beet from the ground by the leaves. Be sure to cut off the leaves (which are also edible) and store beets in a cool, dark place.