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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Planting Beets from Cell Packs: Tangled Roots

Last year I wrote that you could not start beets in cell packs. I believed they needed to be planted in the ground directly because they were a root crop and transplanting them would damage the root or beet. I decided to see for myself and planted 50 beets in the standard tray that holds the cello packs. I just filled it with dirt and made finger holes. They grew. I transplanted them and the beets grew perfectly. So... beets can be grown as transplants.

I just blogged that beet seeds are actually seed pods so when you plant what you think is one beet seed you actually plant a cluster of seeds. If more than one seed germinates from the cluster, you get two or more plants with very tangled seeds. Dividing them is difficult from cell packs. It can be done. Beets are very hardy and if the weather is cool, a damaged plant can survive. A damaged plant is typically a plant with like a single strand of root.

Beet Transplants - The Rusted Garden: Gary Pilarchik
Beet Root Cluster - The Rusted Garden: Gary Pilarchik

Even the roots of beets are red. This cluster is several beets. Tear from the bottom until you reach the leave and plant cluster. Make a wish a break the best you can. You are just breaking the clump one time. Don't try and break every plant out. Even if some plant die you will have beets. You can also harvest the leaves for salads.

Splitting Beet Transplants in Two: Gary Pilarchik

Plant them in a hole the is deeper than the roots and back fill. Gently press the soil around the plant and water daily for several days, especially if it is sunny and in the 70's. You can see more than two plants in the picture below.

Transplanting Beets - The Rusted Garden: Gary Pilarchik
A Row of Transplanted Beets: Gary Pilarchik

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