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Looking for beet secrets

  • Blog Post by: Mary Jane Smetanka
  • September 19, 2011 - 11:04 AM


 

 

A couple years ago I had dinner in a small restaurant with friends. Each meal came with a delicious yellow vegetable on the side. None of us could quite figure out what it was. When we asked the server, she was amused.
“Steamed beets,” she said.
That day, I resolved to try to grow yellow beets myself.
As a kid, I hated beets. I don’t quite know why now, because I didn’t eat one for several decades. I became a convert a couple of years ago when I bought some at a farmers market and tried an old recipe for pickled beets.
Yum!
This spring, I planted red and yellow beets in a raised bed. I had been warned that yellow beets were harder to germinate than the red, and I soaked the seeds of both kinds for a day to make sprouting easier.
I planted them later than I should have, and I didn’t think them as aggressively as I should have. The yellow beets ended up in the shadow of some leggy broccoli plants. Now, at the end of the season, they are the only thing left in a bed that also contained lettuce and arugula.
Yesterday I pulled the first of the beets. You can see the difference in size between the yellow and the red ones. Next year, I’ll give the yellows more sun and be better about thinning them.

 

 

When I roasted them wrapped in tin foil with a coating of olive oil and garlic salt, I was not disappointed. Small as they were, the yellow beets tasted buttery and sweet. The red were a little more earthy, but I cannot imagine disliking these delicious vegetables. They are beautiful, too, with their bright colors and concentric rings.
If anyone knows how to better grow beets, I’d welcome some tips. When I harvested them, I was surprised that most were growing with only the tip left in the soil. I wonder if next year I should start them in a trench and cover them as they grown to try to keep the bulb under the soil. Does that make a difference? If you know, let me hear from you!
 

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