Kitchen Garden Seeds

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Direct-sow Beet seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring when the soil has warmed to about 50°F and through the summer for successive crops. Young, tender Beets make the best eating whether they are grated raw in salads, steamed and chilled, or roasted. Beet tops, or greens, are good too; eaten together with Beets, they ensure a dinner rich in vitamins and minerals. Want to store long-keeping Beets like a pioneer? Select the best unblemished Beets. Do not clean them. Trim the greens, retain the taproots and allow surface moisture to dry. In a breathable container (wooden box), spread a layer of sterile sand, lay down a layer of Beets, continuing these layers to the top. Store in a cool (33°F to 39°F), humid spot like a root cellar or insulated garage. You can dig them out like treasure for up to four months or so. (Check them every once in a while to see how they are doing.) Roast whole Beets in the oven to retain their rich flavor for special, more hearty fare. (Don't forget to roast extra Beets and serve them sliced and chilled over baby greens with crumbled goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, finely diced scallions and a raspberry vinaigrette. Big yum.) Deer resistant.

Average seed life: 2 years.

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Gardening Tips

Beet Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1⁄4"-1⁄2"
Row Spacing: 12"
Seed Spacing: 1"
Days to Germination: 6-12 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-75°F

Beets grow from compound seeds, which may produce several seedlings. Enhance germination by soaking the Beet seeds for an hour in bathtubwarm water. Planting Beets too early may cause stunting and bolting (going to seed), so wait until the soil has warmed to at least 45°F and there is no chance of hard frost. Beets prefer evenly moist, moderately fertile soil. Keep the Beet bed wellweeded, carefully thinning to 3" between plants when seedlings are about 2" tall. Baby Beets make the most choice eating. Harvest them on the smaller side to enjoy their sweet taste and smooth texture. (Or, harvest a bit larger for winter storage.) Enjoy chilled, with goat cheese, black olives and dried cranberries over baby greens with a raspberry vinaigrette. Yum. Or roast them whole with other root vegetables for hearty winter dinners. Beet greens are delicious too when steamed and dressed with butter and lemon juice.

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Root Vegetables

Baby Beets
If you’re planning to serve your tender baby Beets whole and unpeeled, try hilling the soil around their shoulders as they grow. This will keep the skin from hardening over and losing its smooth, red appearance.

Beet Geometry Saves Time
Beets do long service in the garden, from the first snippets of spring greens to rich, flavorful storage beets in winter. But their “seeds” are actually pods containing multiple seeds, so rows must be laboriously thinned. Turn that trait into a time-saver by planting multi-plant blocks. Using soil blocks or plug trays, sow two seeds in each block. This will produce four or five seedlings per block. Plant the blocks 10" apart in rows 12" apart. They will grow fine in clusters, and you’ll have plenty of space in between for cultivating in two directions~much easier than weeding a crowded row. The same trick works for Onion seedlings, which are also difficult to weed. Plant them in groups of four and they will push themselves apart a bit as they grow.

Late Great Beets
Storage Beets need to be planted early in the season to give them plenty of time to make full size. But did you know you could start a second crop of smaller beets just for fresh fall eating? Sow these six weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. You’ll be rewarded with tender, tasty Beets that you can harvest all the way up to the first hard freeze. They’re great steamed in a covered pan with butter or even sliced raw in salads. And the tender greens are delicious too. The cool weather keeps them mild and fresh tasting.

Shade Tolerance

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties