why the heck cant i grow beets?!!??!

cassieinmass(6)May 27, 2009

Ive planted beets about 3 times this year and I cant get the darn thigns to grow!!! Everything else is growing fine, I just cant get the beets to germinate! I bought some transplants but we all know those bite the big one on growing well...

Im growing a ton of swiss chard with great results and have been harvesting it for weeks now...

How can I grow chard and not beets?!?!?! Beets are my favorite garden veggie too...

I read somewhere that soaking the seeds in water overnite helps with germination...

Any ideas?!?!?!Whats the deal!?!?!?!

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bomber095(z5b MA)

Alrighty now.... do the seeds rot? How deep are you planting them? You keeping them well watered? Strange that you could grow chard, but not beets. Same idea, and same techniques.

For the record, I have never soaked a beet "seed" in my life, and always have at least 90% germination.

Soil the same where you have the chard as where you have the beets?

I'm stumped........!?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:48PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

This is my first time growing beets. Although I have no problem getting them to sprout they are growing EXTREMELY SLOW. Carrots are even slower. I am in the PNW...known for cool springs. Go figure.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:58PM
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I've never had luck with beets or carrots. Tried them both twice. DH hates beets, so I gave up on growing them. Bomber asks some good questions. I think my mistake was burying the seeds too deep.

I had no problems growing chard last year. I may try carrots again this year.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Beets and carrots are slow, but germination problems usually means that the top 1/2 inch of soil is drying out too fast or the soil is crusting on them. The old folks use to lay planks on thier beet row to provide a moist environment. I accomplish the same easier using row covers laid flat on the ground. I never soak seeds either. My beets planted the first of March are just beginning to get toward eating size.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:16PM
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farmersteve(N. AL Zone 7)

I also am stumped that the beets won't go when the chard is doing well. I have done both for several years and have had good luck with both (except that the rabbits have gotten too much this year).

I would try to germinate 10 or 20 beet seeds inside just to see if they are viable. Put them in a folded up moistened paper towel. Tuck the towel into a zip lock and put that on top of the fridge for a little constant warmth. Check them every few days to let in fresh air and make sure they are staying wet. If they don't germinate there, you probably just got a bad batch.

The other possibility is - wait for it - maybe the beets are just getting choked out by the weed.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:56PM
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One trick I learned was that you can intersperse the slow-germinating beet seeds with radishes. The radishes help break through the soil and also mark the row. They of course get pulled before the beets begin to do much.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:56AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

Eibren that's a good tip because when I start late everything gets choked out by weeds if they are germinating at the same time. Sorry, can't offer any help even thought beets are the main thing that grows well for me. Everything else, not so hot.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:18AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

My beets germinated, but since this is the first time I planted them I have no idea when they're ready. Planted on March 22, but the leaves are still pretty small. Anyone know how long a beet takes to mature?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:32AM
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Try Winter Sowing. I've never had a problem with beet germination. The container keeps the soil warm & moist, and then you can plant out very quickly. I'm just north of you in NH

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:33AM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

Beets generally take 8-10 weeks to reach maturity. However, like any other veggie, 'maturity' is really defined by you, the gardener. They are mature when you decide they're ready enough for you :-)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:44AM
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eibren, Good idea!

To kep the top from drying too quickly, lay down ONE layer/sheet newspare on it (just sprinkle little soil on it) and make it wet. water it whenever dried.When seeds start germinating, you can remove it, if necessary.

Germinating seeds in warm weather is more difficult than in cooler weather. The reason is fast drying.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Now that i think about it, I have never seen a seed at all after planting them. I plant them about 1/2 inch in the soil, and it is my regular garden soil. My chard is in another area of the garden. Im wondering if I should plant the beets by the chard...
Im going to try the newspaper idea for some carrots and some MORE beet seeds from a fresh pack....
Steve- I wonder if the weed cross pollinates and we can call it beed....

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 6:17PM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

General rule of thumb about planting depth: twice the diameter of the size. Beets about 1/4 inch, carrots - just covered, beans about 1/2 inch, etc.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:27PM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

Cass, not sure if you know, so I figure I'll tell ya anyway....

A beet 'seed' isnt actually a seed, but a cluster of seeds. In reality, it's an unripe fruit. It's not uncommon at all to have one 'seed' send up two or three shoots. Just thin to the strongest when they do appear.

I have my beets in a flower box, two rows of five each, and then are doing well so far

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:49PM
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I can't grow them either, tried twice they would germinate and grow greens but no bulbs :( They werent the beet greens that I grew by mistake. I might try them again in the fall.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 6:39PM
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I have a hard time with beets too. I planted them last fall for the first time, and out of prob 20 -30, in the end I only got 9 tiny little beets.

This year I planted them in-between turnips and carrots, all on the same day. At first they seemed to germinate really well, but since they're clusters, they were too close together and so I thinnned them. They didn't seem to like that at all, and the remaining ones got droopy and a bunch died. Now you can see from the pic below, how great the turnips are doing, and even the carrots - with wimpy tiny beets in the middle, plus several empty spots where they died:
From Garden 2009

I don't know what the problem is, and it is so dissapointing b/c beets are so yummy!

Here is a link that might be useful: grow peace and dance in the garden blog

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 5:10PM
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Aubade- Why not get some starts? Thats what I had to do!!!! Now some from seeds are growing for me, but at least I had the starts!!! What about trying to do the starts in your house!? -cass

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:43PM
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lolear(5b - Chicago)

I planted beet seedlings and they seem to be doing well! Carrots, on the other hand, sent up little sprouts, then mostly stopped doing anything...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 10:03PM
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I planted them 3 time slash year. got 2 plants. I planted twice this year. I have one plant (i am really giving some love to that one plant).

I amended the solid with peat to loose it up. I'll try the newspaper trick. It's Aug 18 in Vermont...too late for a fall crop?

My carrots last year did nothing. I realized I need lighter and deeper soil in my raised bed. This year...they seem to be ok.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 6:52PM
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