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Beet Seeds - 'Sugar Beet'

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Beet Seeds - 'Sugar Beet'
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About Sugar Beet Beet: In the mid 18th century, a German chemist by the name of Andreas Margraff found that the chemical composition of beets included sucrose similar to that of sugar cane. Sugar cane provided the only source for sugar at that time; consequently, the prices of sugar rose very high because of the necessity of importing it from foreign countries. Franz Karl Achard, one of Margraff's students, continued the research and brought the sugar beet into production for a source of sugar; for his pioneering efforts, he is called the father of the sugar beet industry. When the supply of sugar cane was lost because of war time, Napoleon declared that the sugar beet be grown in large amounts to provide sugar. This established commercial use of the sugar beet, and eventually it grew in almost every country.

Sugar Beet Beet Germination: Plant a full month before the last expected frost. Presoak seeds for two hours before planting to soften the hard seed coat and speed germination. Direct sow in full sun and well drained soil, placing the seeds 1/2" deep and 2-4" apart in rows 1-2' apart. Add compost or other organic matter for healthy growth, and tamp down the earth above the seeds to ensure the seed's close contact with the soil. Germination should take place in 7-14 days. For companion planting benefits, plant beets with bush beans, onions, or members of the cabbage family; avoid planting them near pole beans.

Growing Sugar Beet Beet Seeds: Since each beet "seed" holds up to eight actual seeds, the seedlings will need to be thinned to 4" apart. The thinned plants do well as a second crop, as transplanting them will slow their growth for about two weeks behind the original plants. Keep the young plants watered and weeded, taking care not to bruise the tender young plants when weeding. They can survive temperatures down to 25 degrees F.

Harvesting Sugar Beet Beet: Beets can be harvested any time after they reach a size of 1" in diameter, usually after about two months of growth. Though sugar beets can achieve a weight of 3 pounds, for best taste and tenderness, do not allow them to grow over 3" in diameter. After pulling them, twist off the tops about 1" up the stem to prevent the beets from bleeding. Up to one third of the tasty beet greens can also be harvested without damaging the plant.

Saving Sugar Beet Beet Seeds: Since beets are wind pollinated, be sure to separate them from other varieties of chard and beet by at least two miles to preserve genetic purity. Beet plants must weather the winter in order to produce seed; in warmer climates, simply mulch the plants. In cooler climates, dig up the roots and store them in sand, without the roots touching, in a cool and humid location; plant them in early spring. In the spring, the plants will go to seed; wait until the seed heads are fully grown and dry before removing them. The seeds will readily come off the stems after they are completely dry. Store the seed in a cool, dry place for up to five years.

Detailed Sugar Beet Beet Info: Beta vulgaris. Biennial. 100 days to maturity. 3000 seeds an oz. 9-12" height. 2-4" spacing. Produces a conical white beet that grows up to 12" long, with red stemmed, dark green tops.


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Beet Seeds - 'Sugar Beet'
Vigorous Plants, Easy to Grow
These beets were easy to grow (nearly 100% germination) and the boiled greens were a great hit with my entire family. They seem to need less water than the Detroit reds, which is wonderful as we are currently going through a drought. We grew our beets in containers as we don't have much of a yard, but they still grew very well and achieved full size. Used no pesticides other than a bit of iron phosphate pellets to keep the snails away. The boiled greens were delicious. The roasted roots were REALLY sweet, much sweeter than I expected. Raccoons dug up the first batch when the roots were about 2 inches thick and ate them all, but the second crop made it cuz we put metal stakes in the pots to make it hard for them to dig. I highly recommend these seeds.