All I'm saying is give beets a chance

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog beets sproutBeets can be started indoors in flats or out in the garden. Regardeless of where they are planted, beets need to be thinned. Photo by Doug Oster

I grew up hating beets, my mother served them out of a can and they repulsed me.

When I started gardening, beets became part of the plan as my wife loves them.

Several years ago she roasted some of the roots and begged me to give them a try. I had discovered a new favorite food.

Beets from the garden are amazing, filled with a sweet earthy flavor.

chioggia beetChioggia beet is tasty and beautiful. Photo courtesy of Seed Savers ExchangeI used to always direct sow the seeds in the garden until a visit to Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery in Wilkinsburg. Mindy Schwartz had some golden beets in four packs. They were nice sized plants which produced beets in a little over a month.

I'll start a flat in the greenhouse and also plant some seeds in the garden to extend the harvest. One of my favorites is 'Chioggia,' an Italian heirloom from the 1800's.

On the outside it's red, inside it's a white with concentric red circles. It looks like a target and is beautiful.

When planting beets it's important to thin the seedlings. Each seed is actually many seeds. When planted in flats, they are easy to thin. Beets that are crowded will not grow big roots, give them space. Use the thinnings in salads, they are sweet, tender and highly nutritious.

Don't discount the greens, they are wonderful and can be used many ways in the kitchen. I love to saute them with butter and garlic and serve them as a simple side dish.

I've heard countless stories from beet haters who have seen the light after trying them out of the garden.

All I'm saying is give beets a chance.




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