Tasty and healthy, beets are also easy to grow. This vegetable crop is best to be planted in a moist land with cool temperature. If you want to have beets in your vegetable garden, here, you can find the guide and tips regarding how to grow beets, when to harvest them, as well as some ideas to turn them into a delicious dish that you—and everyone—can enjoy.
1. About Beets
Beets are also popular by the name beetroot, table beet, or garden beet. They belong to the group of vegetable crops and mostly come in round or cylindrical shape. For hundreds of years, beets have been cultivated and used for medicinal purpose. Presently, beets are famous as one of the essential food ingredient in countries all over the world.
There are several types of beets which are mostly characterized by their colors, such as red, yellow, purple, and white beets. The most popular one is red beets, the small, rounded-shape roots which have a darker shade of red. Other varieties of beets include Kestrel (a sweet baby beet in the shape of the dark-red globe), Formanova (cylindrical beet), and Chioggia (an Italian-origin beet which has sweet taste).
2. Benefits of beets
Beets have numerous benefits for your health because it is rich in nutrition and vitamins. In addition to vitamins A and C, nutrients in beets include fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Beets are also considered the best source of iron, compared to any other vegetables.
Another beneficial substance contained in beets is folic acid. This natural vitamin has been proven to have the ability to protect you from heart disease as well as reduce the chances of congenital disabilities.
The best nutrition of beets actually comes from their red coloring. The coloring substance that is responsible for creating such color is betalains, formed by a combination of betacyanin (the purple pigment) and betaxanthin (the yellow pigment). Those pigments are the source of potent antioxidants which can prevent free radicals or the cause of cancer.
3. When are beets in the season?
Beets are vegetable crops which have cool and long seasonal pattern to grow. They are not only able to be planted in a temperate climate, but also can survive frost and cooler temperature.
Beet season starts from late summer to springbecause this vegetable grows best in cool weather. However, to get the best roots, it is more recommended that you plant beets in full sun. Planting area with the sunny spot is also the best environment for beets to grow at the optimum state.
4. How to grow beets in your garden
When it comes to growing beets in your garden, the first step you need to do is choosing the right planting site. Beets should be planted in high-quality loamy soils with acid pH levels that range from 6.0 to 7.0. If your garden has hard or rocky soil, don’t lose hope yet. You can still turn it into a good planting site for beets by mixing the soil with compost and adding wood ash to the mixture.
Before planting, prepare the land with aged manure and keep the water moist by watering it first. Once the soil is ready, sow beet seeds to a depth of 1 inch. Ideally, each seed should be about 3-4 inches apart from the others. Planting beets closer together is not a good circumstance and may require more thinning after the plants start to grow.
5. When and how to harvest beets
Harvesting beets can be done after 8-10 weeks of planting. To get the best result, beets are best to be harvested in the fall, because they have stronger colors as well as a higher level of sugar and other nutrients.
Even before the harvesting time is due, beet greens—the part of plants which grow above the ground—can be harvested early by thinning. You can cut the greens after a couple of weeks of planting or when the greens look long enough to be thin. Beet greens are a delicious addition to vegetable salads or stir-fries.
Moreover, to harvest the beets, all you need to do is pull them off the ground by leaving a space of 1-2 inches from the stems. Remember to cut off the part closer to the root after the beets are taken from the ground. Beets that have been harvested should be stored in cool storage like cellar or basement before they are cooked, consumed, or used as food additives.
6. Beets plant care
In general, beets plant care revolves around thinning and mulching. Beets are not a big fan of plant crowd. Therefore, removing some emerging leaves is essential because an excessive crowd of grass may influence beets’ growing process.
Additionally, to preserve the soil moisture and protect your plant from unexpected heat, apply layered mulch to the planting area. The layers usually consist of straw, shredded leaves, and grass clippings. Such a mixture is useful for strengthening the roots. Maintaining the soil moisture can also be done by watering your beet plants regularly.
7. How to prepare beets
Here are some simple ways to prepare beets and turn them into a delicious dish for everyone.
- Beets for an appetizer, they can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked in a stir-fry. In another style, beets can also be used as an addition to the filling of Asian spring rolls.
- Steamed beets, suitable for those who like the natural flavor of beetroots. They can be mixed with butter or honey to strengthen the taste.
- Beets with fruits, they can be sliced and combined with chopped fruits and other food crops such as oranges, apples, or walnuts with the touch of ginger and tarragon. This tasty mixture does use not only the root but also the beet greens.
- Beets for dessert, the tasty addition to the cake You must cook and puree beets first before using them as a part of batter mixture. The addition of beets gives extra-moist to your cake and makes it healthier as well.
Now that you know how to grow beets, including the care procedure and the right way to harvest them, it’s time for you to start planting these delicious roots in your garden. Also, keep in mind that beets which are planted in a good manner will be even better after you turn them into healthy and tasty meals for every occasion