Beets are a popular variety in the garden. We like to eat the roots steamed, boiled, and/or pickled, while the greens are excellent in soups, stir fries, and even for juicing. In this week’s tip, we’ll introduce you to several beet varieties you may want to grow in your garden.
Beets are part of the Amaranthaceae family, of which beets generally fall into a few different categories. Depending on where you live, you may hear this referred to as beetroot, as it is typically the taproot portion of the plant that is eaten. Generally, beets take 55-65 days to maturity after germination. Leaving plants longer can produce larger roots. Regular watering will help to prevent cracking. Below are a few varieties of beets you’ll find in various seed catalogs.
Common Round Red Beet / Table Beet
These are great general purpose beets for fresh eating, pickling, and for the greens. Most people choose varieties with little zoning (regions of light/dark colours) and uniform size. One example we like to grow is Detroit Dark Red.
Storage beets are often considered a type of table beet, and have excellent storage capabilities in the fridge or root cellar.
There are a variety of unique beets that can be a great addition to your garden. These can include white/yellow/orange beets, which don’t stain everything they touch, multicoloured beets that make for a great display, and sugar beets which are grown for their high sugar content. We like to grow varieties like Touchstone gold.
For Beet Greens
If you are growing beets for their greens, look for those with good disease resistance. Note that the roots will not be as round or productive, as more of the plant’s energy is going towards producing greens. One variety we like to grow is Bulls Blood, which has very striking dark red coloured leaves. Providing a soil rich in nitrogen will help to ensure lush and full leaf development.