Growing beets

svenska(CA18/19)June 19, 2011

Feels odd to be asking such a basic question, but I can't seem to grow beets very well. And I do love beets. The tops look fine, and taste great, but the bottoms never seem to round out. Either they never develop at all or are conical and long. I have a couple of theories that I'd like some feedback on. 1) I'm not thinning them enough. 2) I'm planting them too late in the season (I'm in the IE in SoCal) 3) I'm not watering them deeply enough. Help and comments from those with success will be greatly appreciated. And Happy Father's Day to all the gardening dads!

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

My guess is 1. Not thinning early enough. 2. Not preparing the soil with enough compost to create a good soil structure before planting. Al

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 8:02AM
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My guesses would be different: 1) Too much nitrogen, 2) Not enough clay - beets love clay soils, (but don't like to sit in soggy conditions too long), 3) let the beets mature longer in the ground, I've seen tiny roots swell to fist-sized beets long after I thought they were done.

I grow them year round and have found them to be my most reliable producer, they germinate almost any month and tolerate almost anything except being transplanted after the 4 leaf stage.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 1:52PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Having gardened in California all my life, I have only had clay in which to garden, though I know there are sandy soils. So far I have never found native soil with an excess nitrogen, normally it is somewhat deficient. My soil has never had chemical fertilizer applied. I don't believe it is possible with the annual application of vegetative compost to create an excess of nitrogen. We have always preferred beet top greens to swiss chard, but never grew beets just for the tops. Al

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 9:41AM
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My vegetables are grown in large planter boxes with composted soil. I also do not use chemical fertilizer. I'm really thinking it has most to do with planting too late and the heat coming on, and with some spotty watering. Al, I also like beet tops better than chard, for steaming, but prefer chard to saute. I am going to hold off another planting until late September, keep much better track of my watering and see what happens, I guess I can always enjoy the tops. Thanks for all the help and ideas, keeps me thinking and puzzling and doing better.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:12PM
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