The Vegetable Garden

Beet

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Beet
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BeetsTable beet (also known as garden beet, blood turnip or red beet) is a popular garden vegetable throughout the United States. Beet tops are an excellent source of vitamin A and the roots are a good source of vitamin C. The tops are cooked or served fresh as greens and the roots may be pickled for salads or cooked whole, then sliced or diced. Beet juice is a basic ingredient of Russian borscht. The garden beet is closely related to Swiss chard, sugar beet and mangel. Mangels (also known as stock beets) are considered too coarse for human consumption but are grown for stock feed.
Beets require cool temperatures and a loose, moist soil for best production. An adequate supply of potash in the soil is necessary for roots to form. Test soil before planting. Beets do not tolerate acid soils. Beets are shallow-rooted, so never let the soil dry completely. Because beets require cool temperatures, you can grow them in spring and fall.

Varieties

Garden (open pollinated)

  • Crosby’s Egyptian (56 days to harvest; uniform, sweet, dark red roots; semi-globe to heart shaped; glossy, bright green tops, excellent for greens)
  • Detroit Dark Red (58 days; tender, round, dark red roots)
  • Early Wonder (52 days; flattened globe shape; dark red, sweet and tender)
  • Lutz Green Leaf (70 days; an heirloom winter-keeper type; purplish red exterior, deep red interior; large, glossy green tops, excellent for greens; roots stay tender even when large; stores extremely well)
  • Ruby Queen (60 days; AAS winner; excellent quality; early; round, tender, sweet, fine-grained, attractive, uniform roots)
  • Sangria (56 days; ideal globe shape, even in crowded rows; deep red; good greens when young)
  • Sweetheart (58 days; extra-sweet, round, tasty roots; tops good for greens)

Garden (hybrid)

  • Avenger (57 days; uniform, vigorous; smooth, medium, globe- shaped red roots; glossy tops, good for greens)
  • Big Red (55 days, best late-season producer, excellent flavor and yield)
  • Gladiator (48 days; juicy, fine-grained flesh, deep red throughout; holds color without fading when cooked; uniform shape, size and flavor; excellent for canning)
  • Pacemaker (50 days; early; short tops, excellent-quality roots)
  • Red Ace (53 days; early; sweet, red roots; resists zoning in hot weather; vigorous grower)
  • Warrior (57 days; highly uniform, globe shape develops quickly, holds quality as roots grow large; dark red color inside and out; tops fringed with red)

Mini

  • Little Ball (50 days; very uniform, small size; good shape; very tender; grows quickly to form smooth roots)
  • Little Mini Ball (54 days; roots the size of a silver dollar at maturity; round; canned whole; short tops good for greens)

Specialty

  • Cylindra (60 days; long, cylindrical; all slices of equal diameter)
  • di Chioggia (50 days; Italian heirloom; rounded, candy red exterior; raw interior banded red and white; sweet, mellow flavor; bright green tops, mild and tasty; germinates strongly and matures quickly; does not get woody with age)
  • Golden (55 days; buttery color, sweet mild flavor)
  • Green Top Bunching (65 days; round, bright red roots, good internal color in cool weather; tops superior for greens).