All root vegetables grow very well here. They all like the cooler temperatures and can be grown from early in the spring until late in the fall, after some freezing has occurred. Little by little my culinary skills are beginning to match my gardening skills with root vegetables, and beets are no exception. Roasted, sweet beets are delicious, and the leftovers are great on salads.
Beets are typically started indoors in soil blocks around April 1-15 and transplanted to the outdoor garden around May 1-15. They are kept covered with frost cloth over the top of the plants and plastic sheeting over the hoops until it stops snowing and freezing, usually until June 1 or so. A second planting of beets is usually started indoors around mid-May, to be transplanted out mid-June. I’ve stopped growing them any later than the end of June, because later beets typically don’t reach a good size before the ground freezes. After harvest, our beets have been stored in the refrigerator, and now our root closet located in our standing crawl space.
Our second year here the beets were attacked by leaf miners. The leaves were all shriveling up, and after research I realized it was leaf miners. I could see their eggs on the backs of the leaves. Leaf miners are attracted to beets, spinach and swiss chard, and all these were affected to some degree in my garden. After trimming off all the infected leaves and spraying what was left of the plants with neem oil spray, the plants survived and the beets did grow to a decent harvestable size. The next year I was careful to plant beets, spinach & chard in beds that had not had them the previous year, and I was much more proactive about keeping them sprayed with neem. The beets remained in much better condition, with only a few that appeared to be affected by leaf miners. I read that leaf miners breed in the soil and that some beneficial nematodes are supposed to keep them under control. I did apply the beneficial nematodes that were supposed to control leaf miners, but they were not controlled entirely. A nice article explaining leaf miners can be found at the Laidback Gardener.
I have grown some beets in the greenhouse as well, but it takes them a long time to reach harvesting size. Since beets grow so much better outdoors and store for a reasonably long time, I have no real reason to grow them in the greenhouse.
Early Wonder (45 Days) | DTH*
Merlin F1 (48 Days) | DTH* 69 Days – These are one of my favorites.
Cylindra (56 Days ) | DTH* 69 Days – Very nice, cylindrical beet. These are one of my favorites.
3 Root Grex (54 Days) | DTH* – These have beautiful colors ranging from yellow to orange to pink to purple. They typically take up to a month longer to reach harvestable size over most of the red beets, and the greens are larger and tougher than the red beets.
Detroit Dark Red (56 Days) | DTH*
MacGregor’s Favorite (65 Days) | DTH*
*DTH = Days to Harvest, from date of transplant outdoors. I don’t always remember to write down the dates harvested. Dates shown are only those I have in my records.