A herbaceous plant widely cultivated as a source of food for humans and livestock, and for processing into sugar. Some varieties are grown for their leaves and some for their swollen nutritious root.
HOW TO GROW
- Choose beet varieties to plant. There are many different varieties of beets and each has a different growing season. Check the number of days it takes the beets to mature, and choose the best one for growing in your area. When you’ve picked out a variety, purchase a few packages of the seeds of your choice. It’s much easier to grow beets from seed, since they don’t transplant well.
- Prepare to plant in spring and fall. Plant beets when the weather is cool and the soil temperature is around 50 Â°F (10 Â°C). Beets can usually handle a frost or two (though they shouldn’t be exposed to extremely cold weather) but they do not grow well in hot weather – it causes the roots to be tough.To avoid a lot of frost, plant beets just after the last frost of the year in the spring. In the fall, plant when the weather has cooled offs such that it’s regularly below 75 Â°F (24 Â°C). Allow at least a month between your last planting and the start of cold, frosty temperatures.
- Ready the planting bed or pot. Beets don’t need a lot of room to grow, so you can plant them either in a small patch or in a pot. If you’re planting beets in the ground, prepare the garden soil with a garden tiller to a depth of 12 inches (30.5 cm). The soil needs to be free of rocks to help the root to form properly. Add compost and organic matter to the soil to enrich it. The best soil is loose and sandy, with a pH between 6.2 and 7.0.Choose a spot that gets full sunlight; beets won’t grow as well in partial shade.Beet roots develop best when they have plenty of potassium. You can add bonemeal to the soil to provide extra potassium if your soil isn’t particularly rich.
- Plan to plant beets with other vegetables. Beets don’t take up much space in a garden, so they get along well with other cool-season vegetables. In fact, radishes are planted and harvested earlier in the season than beets, so planting them in your prepared beet bed is a good way to get the soil ready for beets. You can also include beets along with onions, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and bush beans in your garden.
- Soak the seeds. Beet seeds are a little tough, so it’s a good idea to soak them to soften the shells so they’ll be able to germinate more easily. Place your beet seeds in a bowl and pour some warm water over them. Let them soak overnight before planting. Be sure to plant them the next day after soaking.
- Sow the seeds in a row. Use a garden hoe to form a row in the garden, and water it well before planting. Sow the seeds along the row, planting them about 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) deep and 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) apart. Put a cluster of seeds at each spot in the row; several seedlings will probably sprout, but having a few seeds will give you backup if some of the seeds don’t germinate. Additional rows should be planted 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.7 cm) apart.
- Keep the row constantly moist. Water the seeds well; they will germinate after 3 to 5 days if they’re kept constantly moist. To prevent them from drying out, you can lay a piece of burlap over the rows for the first few days after planting; just water the burlap directly. Remove it when you see the seedlings begin to sprout.
- Thin the seedlings. Thin seedlings to 3 inches (7.6 cm) apart when they are about 3 inches (7.6 cm) tall. Beets need this room to develop their roots.
- Maintain the seedlings. Keep the beets watered as they grow, and be sure to weed out all grass and weeds. If you see that the beet roots are exposed above the soil, cover them with a light layer of mulch.
- Plant more beets. Stagger your beet planting about every 2 to 3 weeks if you want to have beets to harvest over a period of time. Otherwise, all of your beets and beet tops will be ready for harvesting at the same time.
- Harvest the greens early. Beet greens are best when they’re tender and small, no more than 4 or 5 inches (10.2 or 12.7 cm) tall. They can be harvested once they reach about 2 or 3 inches (5.1 or 7.6 cm) tall. Use a scissors to clip away the greens. Be sure to leave some leaves over the roots so they’ll continue growing. Beet greens don’t keep for long in the refrigerator. It’s best to eat them either the same day you cut them or just one or two days later.
- Harvest the roots later. They’re ready to be harvested when they are 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in diameter. Pull the beets gently from the soil or dig them out. Leave about an inch of leaves of the top so that the root stays intact and lasts longer in storage. Wash the dirt from the beets with cool water, taking care not to bruise them
- Thinning is necessary, as you may get more than one seedling out of each seed. Thin when they read about 2 inches high by pinching them off. Pulling them out of the ground may disturb the close surrounding roots of nearby seedlings.
- Established plants should be thinned to 3–4 inches between plants.
- Mulch and water well. Beets need to maintain plenty of moisture.
- Any necessary cultivation should be gentle, beets have shallow roots that are easily disturbed.
- Flea Beetles
- Leaf Hoppers
- Mexican Bean Bee
- Beets are nature’s Viagra,Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
- Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. These are but a few of the many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be found in beets and beet greens. Beets are particularly beneficial to women whom are pregnant, as the vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body.
- They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, works as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer.
- Beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Beets can also lower your blood pressure.
- It is very effective too, when used externally in a fat or oil-based preparation to relieve haemorrhoid discomfort.
- It is very nutritious.
- It is an anti-diabetic and to keep a check on diabetes.
- It reduces swellings of legs; its decoction is applied gradually over the affected parts.
- Crush the fruit and squeeze juice. Apply juice on palm and sole. It will control perspiration acting as sweat preventive.
- The fruit of the plant is used as an antidote in cases of mushroom poisoning.
- If eggplant is taken in its mashed form or as soup with asafoetida and garlic, it cures flatulence.
- Taking soft and baked eggplant with honey in the evening helps in having a sound sleep. You can use it to cure insomnia.
- Eating eggplants roasted on fire after putting some salt into it cures excessive phlegm and wind humor of the body.
- Eating soft eggplant after baking it on fire and with raw sugar on empty stomach in the morning cures the enlarged spleen due to malaria.