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How To Grow and Use Beets For Beginners

April 29th, 2013

Researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine have discovered that drinking just 500 ml of beet juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure. Those that suffer from cardiovascular disease, or would like to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease are advised to include beet juice in their diet (see our juice recipe below).

Yet, even if you’re not so interested in the health benefits, and more interested in how to make a delicious meal with beets (like this vibrant beet ravioli)- it might prove useful if you know how to effectively grow them in your garden. Our dual purpose beets produce striking dark red leaves that can enhance salads or a sautéed greens dish. When sliced, roots offer an attractive candy-striped color to pasta, salads, soups, or mixed roasted vegetables.

Spring is the perfect time to begin growing beets. Our heirloom and organic Bull’s Blood Beet can be found in the Veggin’ Out and Producer seed kits. If you’re new at this, check out our beet growing tips below.

Growing details:

*Soil temperature: 70-85 degrees F.

*Days to maturity: 45-60 days

*Sun and water: full sun/partial shade with moderate watering.

Starting inside: Sow seeds 3-4 inches in flats, a cold frame, an indoor seed bed, or in 1-1 ½” plug trays 4-6 weeks before transplanting outside. Transplant outdoors 12-18” apart in rows 18-34” apart.

Starting outside: Sow 3-4 seeds 12” apart, ½” deep, and in rows 24-36” apart. Thinning is necessary, as there is a chance you will get more than one seedling out of each seed. Thin when they are about 2 inches high by pinching them off. Be cautious not to pull them out of the ground, as this may disturb the roots growing nearby.

Seed maintenance: Adding mulch or organic compost will only help these plants to thrive. Providing moderate water (and being careful not to overwater), and offering opportunities for full sun and partial shade will also make beets an excellent long-season crop.

Harvest tips: When 2” or greater, dig or pull roots. Attractive roots are best harvested when young, and the greens can be harvested at any time. Leave fall crop in ground until needed or when soil begins to freeze.

Seed saving: Beets are biennials that must be dug, stored, and then replanted in order to produce seed crops in climates with freezing weather temperatures.

How to make beet juice?
Never drink beet juice by itself. Beet juice should always be mixed with apple juice
and/or other vegetables.

Beet Juice
1/3 bowl beet juice
1/3 bowl carrot juice
¼ bowl cucumber juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together then serve with 1 tablespoon of yogurt, as a topping.
Note: Never drink pure beet juice by itself. Drinking pure beet juice can temporarily
paralyze your vocal chords, cause hives, increase your heart rate, and/or cause chills
or a fever.

***Friends – are you starting beets in your garden this season? What other root vegetables are you growing?

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