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cristyn

cristyn's beets x 20

Plant: Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) | Variety: Mix

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This planting has been archived (Harvested)

I’m trying to start beets ahead of time instead of planting them out in the garden like I did last year. This way, I can split them up more easily.

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Planting Data

Plant
Beetroot (3646)
Variety
Mix (13)

Sown from my Beets Seeds.

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Comments

  • TropicanaRoses

    TropicanaRoses wrote:

    How do you know when they are ready to “harden off”? Do they need more than one set of true leaves? I think I understand that you are supposed to put them out a week before the suggested planting date, but what do you cover them with? Also, does each plant bare one beet, or are they like potatoes and there will be more than one?

    Posted on 26 Mar 09 (about 5 years ago)

  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    Re: hardening off. You’re supposed to take the plants out for an hour or two a day for a few days, then gradually increase the time, bringing them back inside, then finally stick them in the ground when they’ve worked up to being left out overnight. I am in no way that organized. I am lucky in that some previous owner converted both my front and back porches into sunrooms. It sucks royally when trying to get in and out of the house in the summer, but it’s great for seed starting. I have only one south facing window in the house, so I graduate wimpy seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) to either in front of the window or under a single florescent light I have for such purposes. Hardier seedlings (greens, mostly), go through a process of moving them to the porch. If I’m feeling benign, I time the transition to a point when the weather is relatively warm (a lot of things got moved to the porch when we had the nice heat spell that thawed the ground and let me dig my beds), and consider the subsequent cooling down to be the hardening off process. So my lettuce, for instance, moved outside from the porch the last day of a cool spell and just in time to be outside for another relatively warm spell. If I’m not feeling benign, I move hardy things to the porch when I need space to start new seeds on the kitchen radiator and they have to take whatever weather they get until I dump them in the ground.

    On my porch, only the lettuce seedlings have gotten their true leaves. The brassica seedlings are getting there (you can see the leaf buds, but no leaf yet), so eventually they’ll come. I figure they’re better off in the south facing porch window in the cold than in the warm dark kitchen. So you have to play it by ear with your own setup. The people who do the high maintenance thing where they gradually increase the time their seedlings spend outdoors before planting them probably wait for true leaves, because they want true leaves when they actually stick the plants in the ground, and they have a fairly structured timeline they’re following to get to that point. They’d be in a bit of trouble if they timed it all out then there were no true leaves yet when the plant had to go in the ground. I’m sure the plant would be fine, but it mightn’t have the head start they were hoping to give it by starting it indoors in the first place.

    re: covering. If you’re doing the thing where you put them out for an increasing amount of time every day, I don’t think you cover them at all. The point is to expose them to the elements a bit at a time. Some people just start plants in cold frames and raise the cover a notch every day or two. Wintersowing calls for starting seeds in disposable plastic containers outdoors and gradually poking more holes in the clear lids until there is more hole than lid and the plant is hardened off. You could probably get a row cover and put your pots under a row cover for a few days to simulate a system like I have with my back porch if you don’t have a similar space and can’t manage your schedule around the timing of leaving them out for specific, increasing chunks of time every day for a week…

    re: beets. Each plant bears one beet, like a carrot. But (and this is a big but!), beet seeds are compound, so each seed spawns multiple plants. Early on, you might think you have one plant with a bunch of leaves, but you’ve really got 3 plants with 2 leaves each. This leads to thinning errors, because you think you’ve thinned it and it’s one plant, but it’s 3 plants competing with each other in a very tight space and they won’t grow nice roots unless you actually separate them or pick all but one of the plants in the cluster. This caused me no end of frustration last year. This year I’m separating them as soon as they sprout. I find that just pulling gently but firmly on the leaves of a sprout will let me pull it up, root and all (if the soil is loose enough), leaving the other plants from the cluster alone. If you have trouble with this, you could just get a narrow pointed scissors and snip all but one plant from each cluster at the ground early on.

    Posted on 26 Mar 09 (about 5 years ago)

  • TropicanaRoses

    TropicanaRoses wrote:

    Wow!! Thanks for taking the time to explain all that!! I have no south facing windows at all that are usable. There is only one, and there is a tree in front of it. I get a lot of sun in the morning on the east side. We have a decent deck there. In the afternoon, we naturally get it on the west side. We also have a deck there, but it is half covered. Which would be the better place?

    Posted on 27 Mar 09 (about 5 years ago)

  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    Honestly, I suspect it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I have the same east/west porch arrangement, but both of them have good southern exposure. The east one gets warmer and gets better light, so it’s where I chose to put my winter garden, because it really mattered. But all my seedlings live on the west one because it’s next to the kitchen and easier to water. It’s also closer to the kitchen garden proper and therefore a shorter run with my hands full of seedlings and tools when the time comes to put them in the garden. So, yeah, I guess the recommendation is go with whatever is most convenient.

    Posted on 27 Mar 09 (about 5 years ago)

  • TropicanaRoses

    TropicanaRoses wrote:

    Thanks. I posted that comment on both pages because I wanted to make sure you got it. Sorry!!

    Posted on 27 Mar 09 (about 5 years ago)

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cristyn

cristyn

Albany, New York

United States

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