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Beets

HOW TO GROW BEETS:

Beets should be planted in a bright, sunny location in full sun – makes me hungry just thinking about it! If you’ve never eaten the tops, you are missing the best part. Don't get me wrong, I love beets, but try the tops cooked just like spinach or use the fresh baby leaves in salads. Yum, yum!

SOIL PREPARATION:

One of biggest keys to success in organic gardening is the condition of the soil. There needs to be adequate organic matter to hold moisture and nutrients. And at the same time, the soil needs to be loose enough for good aeration and drainage, which will help promote strong root development.

People always assume their soil is average, but unless you have a soil test it is just a guess. More often than not, it is necessary to amend the soil to achieve optimum pH balances, as well as the proper levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Testing your soil is ideal; however, at a bare minimum, before planting anything, work in at least 2-4” of organic mulch and at least one-half inch of finished compost into your topsoil.

It is easy to grow beets if your soil has the proper nutrients. Good, rich soil with plenty or phosphorus and wood ash is ideal for beets; however, use wood ash only where you’re going to grow your beets because if your pH is high (which indicates alkalinity) it will make it even higher. So, if you live in the west you have to be careful. Use no more than 2 to 3 cups per 100 sq. ft. right on top of the soil. If instead you have a low (acid) pH, then you can use as much as you want around the whole garden. Hard wood seems to work best.

If you suspect your soil is less than ideal, mix in a cup of MegaVeggie if you feel your soil is in great condition, two cups if in good condition and 3 cups if in poor condition, into every 100 sq. ft. of soil. This 100% organic soil amendment will make up for a lot of deficiencies.

Also, mulching with compost or straw will help keep the soil moist and also help to feed the plant and prevent weeds. Don't mulch over 3-4" because this might prevent oxygen from entering the soil and could cause root rot.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS:

Planting from seed: Plant when you can work the soil and after the hard freeze season is over. Plant seed 1/2” deep in rich soil, then water with MegaSea seaweed solution. This will help germinate the seed and promote root growth. Space 2-3” apart in rows and thin if needed. Sometimes they will be double-seeded in their seed pods, and if you’re going to want some size then thin accordingly. Keep rows about a foot apart. If you are planting in raised beds, then plant 3” on center.

FERTILIZING/AMENDING:

After planting, continue to feed MegaSea once a week by spraying leaves, and MegaFish hydrolyzed fish every two weeks through root feeding until harvest. I use a hose sprayer for fish, but just make sure you spray enough so that the roots of the plants are soaked. If fish gets on the leaves, don’t worry, it won’t burn the leaves.

If your plants are not vigorous, they are not getting enough food and your soil is in poor condition. If so, side dress with 2 tablespoons of MegaVeggie around the base of the plants and water in. Continue the seaweed once a week along with fish emulsion every two weeks. Do not let the soil dry out; soil should be moist but not soggy.

Recommended Schedule for Fertilizing and Amending Soil:
1. MegaSea seaweed -- at planting and once a week until harvest
2. MegaFish hydrolyzed fish -- every two weeks after planting until harvest
3. Wood Ash – at planting
4. MegaVeggie – at planting, and if plant does not appear vigorous, every two weeks until harvest

SWEET CORN SECRET:
If you use wood ash, seaweed and fish, your beets will be the sweetest beets you’ve ever eaten!

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