We continue to expand the vegetable garden catalog . Today is the red beet or table beet. Depending on places, we can already think about sowing it in our garden. The cultivation of beets is grateful, it does not give problems and the nutritional properties are well recognized.
WE PUT YOU IN THE BACKGROUND BEFORE CULTIVATING
The first thing to say that beets is chard. Did you imagine it? Chard is a subspecies of beet that is more interesting for its leaves than for its roots. But they are both Beta vulgaris . It is a Chenopodiaceous . There are several varieties intended for specific purposes. We already know the famous sugar beet and there is fodder for livestock. The one that interests us today for our garden is table beets. The one we usually eat cooked in a salad. It has a significant amount of flavonoids (they are antimicrobial, anticancer and reduce arterial hypertension. Its two pigments (betacyanin and betaxanthin) indigestible for our body (you will see if you eat it ;-)) are used in the industry as a food coloring.
LET’S START WITH GROWING BEETS. WEATHER
In the climatic aspect it has an exemplary endurance. It prefers temperate and humid climates but it can cope well with heat, cold, and frost (up to a point). A marvel of a plant as far as climatic conditions are concerned. When the growing periods are cold, the beet reaches its highest quality. However, when they are warmer, the thickness of the root can be somewhat greater.
For the cultivation of beets we need medium soils rich in humus. He does not do well parts of compost or slightly decomposed compost. It is better to have had a previous crop to which a good part of compost has been added, so that what remains of that compost is well decomposed. It is a vegetable that, unlike the vast majority, resists heavy and clay soils, although it is not ideal because the roots will deform with this type of soil. If they are sandy and lighter, we will have a greater precocity.
IRRIGATION FREQUENCIES AND DOSES FOR BEET CULTIVATION
Growing table beets requires moderate but high-frequency watering . It is better to water less and more times so that we achieve a level of humidity in the soil as constant as possible. Dry soils between waterings will cause beets to split.
BEET CULTIVATION. SOWING
The beet seed , as we see it, is a capsule or fruit and within it are the seeds themselves. One of the advantages of this crop is that we can do direct sowing in the garden without going through a seedbed, which makes forecasting and starting the crop much easier. When growing several seeds together it will be necessary to thin them when they start to grow to give more vigor to the remaining plants. If we live in warm areas, we can enjoy them throughout the year until we get fed up. In colder northern areas it is usually sown from the end of March. Warmer areas in February.
HARVESTING TABLE BEETS
In approximately 3-4 months we will have the beet ready for consumption. In warm climatic conditions and with early varieties, it is possible that they reach term in 2 months.
For its consumption, the most common is cooking. It is recommended to wash them and not remove the sheet or leave something on them. Never remove the root or peel them. We will lose all the pigments and many of their nutrients and flavor. Cook the whole plant for approximately 1 hour. Once cooked, they are peeled and can be eaten. Another option is to roast them in the oven until they are tender. They better maintain their properties. They can also be eaten raw although they are less digestible. Matter of taste.
Flat of Egypt: Good in precocity. The root is more squashed. Intense red and sweetish in flavor, but the meat is somewhat harder than the Detroit variety.
Detroit: Rounded in shape and dark red. Very fine and sweet meat. It can be sown all year round. It is one of the best known for its versatility and good quality.
Cylindra : As its name suggests, it is more elongated. The cylindrical shape lends itself more to industrial processing than it is in slices.