Beets this year

A mix of beet varieties
A mix of beet varieties

 

I’m trying beets this year and decided to go with a mix of varieties from red to yellow and round to cylindrical. Germination was slow at first and once that happened the plants seemed to sit still for a long time. Now they’ve put on some more leaves and a few have tiny tap roots that look like beets.

Beets are one of several kinds of new root crops I’m trying this year. Most of these beets are a late season harvest to be stored and eaten throughout the winter. There are a few varieties in the mix that are earlier and I suppose I’ll know which ones they are when I see them. Any small beets that are thinned no matter the variety can be eaten, too. Even mangelwurzels, which are huge beets grown primarily as stock feed, can be eaten when small as can the young leaves.

The rows have been weeded and I watered several times each evening this past week because the weather has been so hot and dry. Now I will mulch between the rows with a layer of spoiled hay to replace what has deteriorated during the summer.

Root crops like beets, turnips, rutabagas, and carrots have been a mainstay in northern gardens. These root crops are tolerant of cooler weather and grow better as the season winds down and temperatures cool off. Getting food from my gardens every year is a challenge but by planting many kinds of crops and taking a few chances on some new things I am able to produce a variety of good food each season for myself and my animals.

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