Sunday, 30 January 2011

Heirloom Beets

Around the first week of December 2010, I harvested my Detroit Red beets, which I had grown from seed beginning 9/28/10. They were supposed to take 45-60 days, but the roots seemed a little slow to develop, as is so typical for heirloom types. I was advised to wait to harvest close to Christmas, but I knew that wouldn't work for me, so I pulled them up on December 7.

If you look at the below picture of my square foot garden, I had planted 8 squares of beets. And with my harvest, how many servings did I actually get? About 4 to 5. My biggest beets were somewhat larger than a golf ball.

But they tasted very good indeed. They were worth the wait. I'd certainly grow them again, but I believe it would be worth experimenting with hybrid varieties.

I hear you saying, "I'm just too impatient to wait two or three months for beets!!"

I understand, and if you don't like the idea, why not grow the beets simply for their greens? You'll have green tops worth harvesting for a few months, and very quickly, too. If you go this route, this is basically all you'll get from the plants, but it will be the gift that "keeps on giving."

How do you cook beet greens?

Well, you can cook them like spinach, add them to mixtures of other greens like kale or turnip greens, or cook them this way: Add a little olive oil, vinegar, and a small bit of sugar to a saucepan, let it get hot, and add your greens and let them wilt in the saucepan. You can add bits of bacon as well. They are great this way. Or just use bacon grease in place of the olive oil.

Behold, 8 squares of Detroit beets:


  1. They are quite pretty. I've never had fresh beet anything, but I'm sure they taste a lot better than canned beets. :)

  2. I don't think you'd be sorry if you grew beets! Thanks.