Thursday, February 3, 2011

Growing Beets

I can see I'm going to have to take far more pictures of the garden in the future so I can use them in the spring time to talk about gardening even though there isn't any garden yet. Oh dear, I hope that made sense. I'm feeling a bit befuddled today, not sure what direction I'm headed. Our oldest grand daughter woke up and moaned up a storm on the floor beside me while I mixed up some waffles, ones that didn't turn out so swell. .
I was going to go in alphabet order of the vegetables in the garden that I grow but since it will be time soon to start the Siberia and Glacier tomatoes, I think we'll make exceptions here and there and slip in the ones I'm planting as I go along.
Beets 55-80 days to maturity
Cool weather
Minimum soil Temperature
Companion Plants
NOT pole beans
Nutrient Needs
Some on the Internet use the laundry Mule Team Borax sprinkled lightly on the soil around their beets to gain extra boron. Some on the Internet say don't use Mule Team Borax so I'm confused. Have anyone of you tried it? I may just have to put a little on a small area and see what happens.
My beets have always done quite well so my soil must be decent enough because most diseases in beets are due to nutrient deficiencies.
Oh my, I'm not sure you got any of that. I can see that far away look in your eyes. Maybe I'd better finish my morning filling you in. I can see some of you are wondering about what happened to our sweet grand daughter and just can't concentrate.
As the moaning intensified, I asked her if she was hungry, "NO".
"Do you have to use the bathroom."
"Are you getting sick."
It wasn't but a few minutes later as I'd walked around her for the umpteenth time trying to cook that she made a dash for the bathroom and all of the above happened.
Oh, you already guessed that part of the story. Well, was it the waffles that didn't turn out so well that had you wondering why? Well, they had the consistency of cement when I was done mixing them, and I guessed I'd forgotten to type in the amount of milk needed. Breakfast foods is where I'd decided to start typing recipes and placing them in a notebook. This one I'd altered from the original and I not only can't spell but with so many interruptions to wipe this ones mmm... you know, and get that one a drink, or get the other one something to eat, that I obviously can't proof read either.
Scanning the recipe I didn't see any milk listed and so I poured a guesstimate amount into the bowl to try and fix the problem. They weren't the best waffles I've ever made but they filled the younger two's tummies and I spent the rest of the morning trying to decided whether to send the oldest back to school since she was now all bright eyed and bushy tailed after the bathroom episode.
I finally decided they could always call me to come and get her and I took her after lunch. By the end of the day I'd made four trips to the school, strapping in three little ones, unstrapping them, strapping them in, unstrapping them, this good little grandma, as so many of you have called me, was ready to teach them how to play hooky. Not that I'd ever done it before but I bet I could figure it out.
All wasn't a wash today, though I did do five loads of that, I finally finish the quilt as the youngest slept, the oldest was in school, and the middle child watched Scooby Doo. That gave me an hours rush time. I'll admit, the seams weren't real straight but all I wanted was to be done. Done before the youngest woke up, done before we had to leave to pick up the oldest grand daughter, and done before the middle child got in to something.
She's really good at that.
So TADA!! one more UFO, (unfinished object) is completed. Just in time for we've got to haul in lots of coal and wood tomorrow as the snow is to start to fall Saturday,- AGAIN-and cold cold weather is pushing in behind all the white stuff.
Oh my and you thought todays blog was about beets.
My oldest will be hmm.. hmm... by now as she's advised me over and over again to keep these brief. I'm a slow learner. You know how it is. Talking to small children all day leaves one needing adult conversation, even if it is about the kids.
I know, I know Toni, I'm getting to it right now.
Beets 55 - 80 days to maturity

Cool weather crop

Minimum soil temperature 40 F

Companion Plants
NOT pole beans

Nutrient Needs

Most diseases are due to nutrient deficiencies - Use kelp for fertilizer

Seed emergence: 4 to 10 days 2 to 3 weeks in colder soils

Seed viability- 4 years

Direct seed 2-4 weeks before last frost or 6-8 weeks before fall frost. 1 oz. per 100' -20' per person. Sow seed 1/2 " deep, 1" apart, in rows 10" apart. Double rows works well with rows spaced 3 to 4 inches apart as do solid beds. The beet seed that you plant is actually a seed ball, an aggregate of two to six individual seeds. Consequently even when you follow the recommended spacing, the seedlings will need to be thinned. Thin plants to 3" apart when greens are big enough to eat, but roots haven't formed. When thinning, cut plants rather than pull to avoid disturbing the roots.

Now that was something I did not know. I've got to try this cut plant thing rather than pull when weeding.

I'm also going to use chicken wire to help me space the beets in a patch rather than rows to better utilize space.

Beets tolerate low fertility soil but require consistent moisture. (Fluctuating weather can reduce quality and create white zone rings in the roots.) Beets maturing in warmer weather are lighter colored, have less sugar and have more pronounced color zoning in the roots. Best grown in cool conditions.

Did you know this? I didn't

Water early in the day to avoid keeping the foliage wet and susceptible to disease. Harvesting after frost increase sugar content and improves storage qualities.
And this either. That's why I think this project will reap big rewards. I may have been gardening for over thirty years but I'm still a babe in the woods as far as knowledge goes.
Generally detrimental to subsequent crops.

Now if anyone has something to add I'll be sure and pass it on in the next post. And I think I'll go and start supper. Hopefully it will turn out better than breakfast.

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