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14 messages
24/04/2014 at 08:11

Over the weekend, i took my beetroot (Boltardy) seedings from the coldframe and put them out into a raised bed. They'd done pretty well in the cold frame and each had 4/5 true leaves etc.

Anyway, five days on and they look distinctly unhappy and having been put out - even though it's been the kind of coolish (18 day max, 9 night min) and damp (sun and showers) weather I thought beets liked. Some of the leaves though have gone entirely purple - in some cases the whole plant is now purple! Never seen that before with beets - obviously you expect the veins to be purple, but not this.

Any thoughts?!

24/04/2014 at 08:21

Did you harden them off first?

24/04/2014 at 08:36
I thought so. They'd been happily sitting in a cold frame the last few weeks, with the lid fully open for the last week so exposed to the outside world. This week has been cooler than last but still pretty mild for time of year - and like I said, I thought beets liked around 17/18 C.
24/04/2014 at 08:58

Maybe feed them with some chicken pellets? I don't know other than that to be honest.

24/04/2014 at 09:08

I tend to plant beetroot where they will be growing, rather than have to move them. I also have a lightweight cold frame that I can move around; though have never used it for beetroot.

24/04/2014 at 09:31
I've generally found planting beets in modules works well. You can then separate the plants when planting out so avoids thinning which I always hate.

Ho hum. At least I've got time (and seeds) to try again...
24/04/2014 at 09:50

Beetroot (along with all root crops) grow better sown in-situ....very little is gained by starting them off under glass.  

24/04/2014 at 10:37

Hmm, ok, my web research suggests too much water can do exactly this to beetroot. Although they're in raised beds, it was a very wet weekend down here so I guess that's it. Doesn't sound fatal but I may just sow more seeds in modules as insurance..

24/04/2014 at 12:45

Beetroot insitu for me.  I think beetroot does not lke being moved. ,they are fragile, brittle things when small.  I protect seedlings under fleece until they are 3" or so.  Strong winds, pests,,heavy rain....all damage them.

 

05/05/2014 at 17:48

My beets have actually done pretty well, despite their soggy start / red leaves in open ground. They're mostly growing new leaves which aren't red which seems promising!

I've been nervously watching out for signs of beet leaf miners though - which have basically destroyed my crops in previous years (despite people generally saying they don't cause too much of a problem). I've been looking most days for signs of larvae on the underside of the leaves and suddenly, today, I noticed a group on one leaf - and on another, and on most of the plants!

I've scraped them all off. Desperately hoping that if I can stop them getting established, I might actually have a decent crop this year...

12/05/2014 at 08:10

Well, famous last words, but my beets have now pretty much entirely overcome their soggy start. Lots of new growth and looking healthy and on track.

The main problem more recently  has been my old enemy, the beet leaf miner... I've had the tedious job of, essentially on a daily basis, scraping off collections of larvae on just about every beet plant!

12/05/2014 at 11:08

The roots tend to get a battering when you transplant, and beetroot, as has been said, dislike that. Sowing or transplanting into peat pots, prior to eventual planting outside, would help this. Recent rough weather doesn't help either. Yours should recover as the weather gets warmer. Watch out for slugs!

12/05/2014 at 11:33

It's partly because of slugs (and wanting an early crop) that I go for modules. I tend to find the slugs aren't so bothered when they leaves get bigger.

I think the reason people like Monty Don say modules for beets are ok is because, unlike say carrots, the bit you harvest isn't actually at the end of the tap root. With carrots, you definitely end up with mis-shapen veg.

Anyway, like I say, it's now a case of making sure none of these bloomin' white dots hatch! If I can stave off the leaf-miners, I'm hopeful I'm only a few weeks off from having baby beets...

 

12/05/2014 at 13:21

I start most of my veg off in modules apart from the one's with a tapering root, in part due to having previously grown in a small space. As you harvest stuff you have something to take it's place which is already part grown. 

I've not planted out beetroot yet but have at least forty seedlings ready. I'm being over cautious and watching what other plot holders do. Most seem to sow straight into the ground though, I've not plucked up the courage yet, it looks harder to do than modules and back breaking stuff. 

Boltardy is usually fairly hardy, I've not known the leaves go purple but it sounds like they are coming through. Good luck...    

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