Sugar beet seeds are easy and fun to grow. They are an excellent crop to grow for wildlife feed, also grown for their great tasting greens. Mature sugar beets get up to 1 foot long, weigh 3 - 5 pounds and produce an average of 3 teaspoons of sugar.
Things You'll Need:
A partial shade to full sun location in the garden with loose fertile soil
Sugar beet seeds
Sugar Beets do not do well in poor soil or clay, so prepare your soil by adding compost and manure. Sugar beet seeds can be planted in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
Plant 2-3 sugar beet seeds in rows ¼ inch deep every inch or so. Keep seeds moist, sugar beets need to stay moist, never let them dry out. You will start to see sprouts in 14-21 days.
Thin sugar beets to 4 inches apart when plants are 3 inches tall. The seedlings that get removed can be cooked and are similar to spinach. Some cooks leave the marble size root attached to the greens.
Sugar Beets have extremely shallow roots so you will need to hand weed them early and frequently. Sugar Beets compete poorly with weeds. Keep watered regularly, do not let dry out. By mid summer sugar beets will have leaves that are 1-2 feet tall and begin storing sugar in their roots.
Sugar beets mature in only 45 days. Dig or pull when the roots are 2 inches or bigger. Sugar beets add great flavor when shredded and added to other vegetables . You can harvest beets for greens any time. If you are harvesting for deer feed you can leave them in the ground until needed or until the soil begins to freeze.
You don't have to have a large garden or farm to grow beets. Anyone with a little space can grow beets in a container. All you need are beet seeds, soil such as pro mix or metro mix, lots of sun, fertilizer and water. Beets are sweet, nutritious, beautiful and easy to grow in almost any condition.
Things You'll Need:
3 gallon or larger container
Take your container and fill it up to the rim with your soil . Make sure it is deep and well drained. Beets can grow in almost any type of soil, but do well with compost or aged manure.
Soak beet seeds in water for 24 hours to help with germination. Now you are ready to sow your beet seeds. Sow them about 1/2 deep and 1 inch apart. Do not overcrowd them as this will affect the development and size of the beet root. Water the soil completely, but do not soak.
Apply a general, all purpose fertilizer while sowing. Do this again 2-3 weeks later. Keep the soil lightly watered, beets require even moisture. Using a mister can help do this without overly saturating the soil.
It takes 55-60 days for most varieties of beets to mature. Beets are susceptible to frost, but can survive simply because they are a root crop. You can harvest your beets when they are two inches in diameter. Beets are more tender and edible when they are young. A large, mature beet certainly looks impressive, but they also become a lot tougher in texture.
The best thing about home grown beets is that even if you abuse them, they still taste delicious and certainly a lot more so than the supermarket versions. Some varieties to try are: Bull's blood, Boro Hybrid and Red Cloud Hybrids. They are hardy plants that can grow in the sun and shade and you can also use their greens in salads.