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Beets are loved by many gardeners for their sweet and earthy flavor. They are a cool-weather crop that is easy to grow from seed. Beets come in a wide variety of flavors and colors, including red, orange and candy-striped. Popular varieties include Detroit Dark Reds, Chioggia and Golden.
Pick a sunny spot in the garden. Beets have long roots that reach deep into the ground, so well-worked soil is important. Work some bone meal fertilizer into the bed to a depth of 12". If the soil is low on boron, dissolve 1 teaspoon of household borax into 4 quarts of water and work it into the bed.
Sow beet seeds in early spring, when the soil temperature has climbed above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Form rows 1" deep and 12" apart. Space seeds approximately 2" to 4" apart. Cover the seeds with soil and water well.
When the beets are 2" to 3" tall, generally five weeks after planting, they need to be thinned to one plant every 6". Use a pair of scissors to cut the seedlings off at the soil line. Avoid yanking any seedlings up, because that will disturb the roots of the plants that are left to grow.
Beets do best if they have a consistent level of moisture while they are growing. Water the plants whenever the soil feels dry. Beets benefit from a light feeding of 05-10-10 fertilizer when they are 4" to 6" tall.
Beets are a relatively fast-growing crop, maturing in about 40 to 70 days after planting. Beets should be harvested while the root is still young and tender, about 2" or 3" across. Occasionally dig up a beet to see whether it's the right size. To harvest, simply pull the beets by hand or dig them up with a pitchfork.
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