When it comes to beets there is no apparent middle ground...you either hate beets, or you are one its truly devoted
For beet lovers, the root vegetable with the earthy flavor provides a rich source of folate - and don't forget the greens - which are either cooked or tossed in salads and provide a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Although traditionally a vivid "beet red", you can also find varieties that are deep golden in color, as well as an Italian hybrid (di Chioggia) banded in red and white.
Since beets have a shallow root system, they don't require lots of space, and can also easily be grown in pots and containers. However, like carrots, the secret to perfect beets is a well prepared bed of soil free of rocks or pebbles that may hinder growth of the root.
Sow seeds lightly a 1/2 inch deep in early spring and thin seedlings 2-3 inches apart. Beets perform best in cool, moist weather and can withstand a light freeze for a late fall crop.
Beets require full sun and uniform fertilizing and watering during their growth cycle, typically 50 - 60 days from seed to full maturation. However, beets can be harvested at any stage in their development, including the sprouts (usually eaten raw
or tossed in salads) during the thinning out stage.
At their most tender and delicious when roots reach 2-3 inches in diameter, beets are apt to become tough and tasteless after optimum harvesting time.
Fun facts about beets
• Beets are a "feel good" food that contain betaine, a substance that elevates your mood while provideing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support.
• Since Roman times, beets have been considered an aphrodisiac and in some cultures it is still believed that that if a man and a woman eat from the same beet they will fall in love!
• Beet juice has been used as a natural red dye for textiles since the Middle Ages. In 19th century England, the Victorians used beets to dye their hair.
On the Web - How to plant & grow beets :
Watch Your Garden Grow - Beets - Tips on soil bed preparation, FAQ, recommended varieties with corresponding descriptions & characteristics, nutritional benefits, canning & freezing advice.
Easy Gardening ... Beets - Texas A&M fact sheet with information on soil preparation planting, fertilizing and harvesting
with an illustrated guide to common beet pests & diseases and suggested remedies.