Sow: beet it


Yesterday morning was lovely. Cool, bright, and slightly breezy. A perfect morning to poke around and harvest stuff.

Beets have been one of my favorite vegetables to grow, mainly because they are such a leap of faith. You soak the seeds for 12-24 hours. You plant three or four seeds per hole. Then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Maybe it’s me.

I’m learning patience when it comes to sprouting. Moving beyond the instant gratification of transplants which look nice the minute you pop them in the dirt.

You can’t grow beets from transplant. And you have to thin them if you want to be successful in the size and shape of the beets. If all three beet seeds sprout, you have to eliminate two. And how do you decide which two? Luckily you can enjoy the beet sprouts and leaves on a salad. Still it makes me a little sad as I wonder if I’ve made the right decision.

Since they’re something that I love to eat, I planted lots of them this spring because we went through fall’s beet supply so fast. This time I planted 1/2 of a 4″ x 8″ raised bed of chioggia and 1/3 of a 4″ x 8″ raised bed of Detroit reds.

We’ve had 6 harvests so far with more to come.

My friend Clair tells me they’re excellent for gall bladder health. She juices them.

I prefer to roast them in my handy dandy toaster oven so as not to heat up the house. Wash well and trim. Rub a bit of olive oil over them, then salt and pepper well. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F or until you can stick a knife through. Let cool and peel as needed.

Last night I made a salad that used all the parts of the beet. I took a mixture of torn up beet greens (chioggia are light green and Detroit red are dark red), put them on a plate, added a sliced roasted chioggia beet, sprinkled it with a bit of goat cheese, freshly ground pepper, and a bit of garlic vinaigrette. Delicious and a great use of the whole plant.

Today it’s rainy so no harvesting will happen this morning. We woke up at 6:20 this morning to a thunderstorm and heavy rain. It continued until about 9.

Everything is wet and very green. While the Gs are a bit miffed that it interrupted their walking schedule, I’m sure the beets are happy for the free water.