Beets are easy to grow and are among the vegetable plants of which the roots and shoots are edible. Beet tops, also referred to as greens, are used in salads or in cooked form and have a higher nutritional content than the roots. The roots grow in shades of red, yellow or white and in varying shapes. With their tolerance of near-freezing temperatures, the heat-loving vegetables enjoy a long growing season. Harvest the seeds from home-grown beets to grow the vegetables the next spring.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp scissors
- Paper bag
- Bone meal
Watch for seed stalks on the beets in their second year of growth, as the plants are biennial. The stalk is several feet tall with multiple branches with small flowers. The flowers are followed by seed balls that contain seeds enough to propagate six new plants.
Cut off the entire top of the beet plants when their seed heads are mature. Maturity is indicated by the brown color of the seed heads.
Hang the plants upside down in a cool, dry area after tying them in a bunch.
Strip off all dried seed heads after the plants have completely dried. Remove any debris from the collected seeds and store them in a paper bag.
Select plants with the best growth characteristics, such as size, color and good leaf development, from which to obtain seeds. Amend the soil with a light sprinkle of bone meal on the prepared beds before planting.
Tips & Warnings
- If only a small amount of seeds are needed, strip off and collect brown seeds directly from the plant while they are still in the ground. Gather more seeds as they mature later.
- Beets are very hard to transplant, so do not attempt the start them indoors before planting. The best time to sow seeds is during the summer.
- Ohio State University Extension; Growing Beets in the Home Garden; Pamela J. Bennett; 1993
- "Saving Seeds"; Marc Rogers; 1990
- "Seed Sowing and Saving"; Carole B. Turner; 1997
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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