Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris
Native Range: Lower 48 States and Puerto Rico
Hardiness Zones: 3-10; beets can tolerate some cold and roots can remain in the ground until a hard freeze;
Soil Requirements: light loamy soil with even supply of moisture, protected from prolonged periods of heat; slightly acidic pH [6.5 – 7];
Light Preference: Full sun
Days until Germination: 10-15 days
Sowing: Sow beets 2″ deep after soil has warmed to around 45°.
Plant Spacing: Beet seeds are actually a cluster of ~2-6 seeds. Sow thinly about 1″-3″ apart, in rows 12″-24″ apart. After germination, snip or pull out the weaker seedlings from the cluster. Thin to 4″ between plants.
Plant Height: Greens 6″-10″
Harvest: 90-100 days; can be harvested at full-size or anytime after their tops have poked up out of the ground; utilize the greens for salads; may be left for a week or two after maturity in soil to increase storage time, though texture may become slightly woody;
Grows Well With: Bush beans, onions, lettuce, kohlrabi and most members of the Cabbage family
Grows Poorly With: Pole beans, field mustard, charlock
Potential Problems: Damping off; cutworms; aphids; flea beetles; cabbage looper; blister beetles; beet webworms; grasshoppers; snails and slugs; leafminer larvae; mosaic virus; downy mildew; cracked roots; June beetle larvae;
Uses & Cooking Suggestions: Most often used to enhance livestock health, however, chefs have been known to thinly slice this giant beet to make a decorative (and somewhat edible) plate.