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Plant of the Month: Beetroot

The many health benefits

According to the book Wellness Foods A to Z, beetroot used to be cultivated for its nutritious, green leaves, while the bulb itself was primarily used medicinally or as livestock feed. While the leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant per calorie, the idea of missing out on the bold flavors of the bulb sounds horrible.

The mighty beet was thought to remedy everything from fevers, to skin irritations, and even constipation. More recent health claims even suggest beetroot can help lower blood pressure, boost exercise performance and prevent dementia.

For gentlemen that have lost the spring in their step, beets are a well-spring of a compound called nitric oxide that naturally helps to increase blood flow by causing blood vessels to dilate. In short, beets are a good food to support sexual performance for men.

Want to get growing? Here’s some tips

The beetroot is a resilient vegetable and is usually successful in most climates. They actually prefer cooler climates. The hotter the weather, the tougher the root will be. Beets thrive in well-tilled earth, or in raised beds. They are best suited to growing in rows, and don’t mind too much crowding. Separate the seeds by 2-3 inches to give them some breathing room. Water them in after planting. To increase yields, make sure it stays as weed free as possible.

For sweet, tender beets, try the following planting tips from Garden.org:

  • In the north, plant beets throughout the spring and in mid- to late summer.
  • Start planting 30 days before your last spring frost date, and continue plantings at 3- to 4-week intervals into July.
  • In the south, plants beets in the fall and early spring.
  • Beet roots are ready for harvest in 45 to 65 days.
  • Sow seeds ½ inch deep (1 to 1 ½ inches in hotter climates)
  • In dry climates, plant in a well-soaked, 6- to 8-inch-wide furrow about 3 inches deep.
  • Cover seeds with ½ to ¾ inches of soil.

Tending to Your Beets

  • Thin seedlings to stand 1-1 ½ to 2 inches apart 10 to 14 days after emergence.
  • One month later thin plants to about 4 inches apart.
  • If commons pests such as leaf miners or leafhoppers are helping themselves to your crop, contact your local county extension for pest control tips.

More Pest Control Tips

Beets are relatively disease and pest free, and even the problems they do have are relatively easy to manage without need for pesticides or chemicals. George Abawi, a plant pathologist at Cornell University, advises rotating crops of beets, spinach, and Swiss chard with other types of vegetables to prevent disease. And use cover crops during the off-season to protect your plants.

Beets are a delicious, healthy option for gardeners of all experience levels. They can withstand a light frosting and will grow well into the fall in cooler regions. They are an easy choice for greenhouse gardens that grow into winter months. If you’ve been considering a greenhouse, check out the durable, personalized options that Rimol has to offer.

Eat the beet

The best part of growing vegetables is eating them. There is no shortage of scrumptious recipes for your next beet harvest, but here are a few Pinterest options that look too good to be true.

As these recipes show, beets can be mouth-wateringly delicious options that are packed with health benefits. Do you have a go-to recipe for beets? Share it below and let everyone else join in the fun!