Monogerm vs. Multigerm
On the week’s episode, Travis explains the differences between monogerm and multigerm beet seeds. Beet seeds are naturally multigerm varieties which means that each seed contains more than one embryo. Multigerm seeds happen when flowers grow in clusters which in return produces multigerm seed balls. When the seed balls germinate they produce 2 to 5 seedlings at once. So when planting you will end up with more than one seedling or plant per seed which requires some form of thinning of the plants. The thinning is important to ensure we get large production and uniform beet seeds. For instance, with our beet seeds, we want the same size round beets all along the row in the vegetable garden. In order to get these results, the beets should be evenly spaced along the garden row so we have to thin those to ensure they are 4 to 6 inches apart in the vegetable garden. Due to the importance of the thinning process is one of the main reasons, Travis prefers to grow beets by transplant. It is much easier to do the thinning process in the greenhouse in the seed trays instead of waiting till they germinate in the vegetable garden. The natural multigerm beet seed that we carry is the Kestrel variety. These Kestrel beets are a hybrid variety that contains a nice disease resistance to downy mildew and powdery mildew. Monogerm means that each seed contains one seedling per seed or one plant per seed. So if you prefer to direct seed plants in the ground you should go with a monogerm variety like our Solo beet variety. This solo variety is another hybrid variety that contains great flavor profile and disease resistance from mildew, root rot, and Cercospora leaf spot. When planting this beet variety it allows you to plant them at the desired plant spacing and you do not have to worry about thinning them out in the garden as you do with multigerm seed varieties.
Growing Beet Seeds
The best overall time to grow beets in the garden is during the spring and fall. They prefer to grow in soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. If you tend to have heavy clay soils adding a good compost will help the beets grow better. When growing beet seeds they do best when transplanted using our seed starting trays. Not only does it make thinning the beets easier if they need it but it also allows for better plant growth. If transplanting in the ground the preferred spacing is 4 inches along the row. However, they can be direct seeded in the vegetable garden with multiple rows close together and spaced as close to 6 inches apart. If direct seeding you can use our Hoss Garden Seeder with the #3 seed plate to accurately plant the seeds in the garden rows. When it comes time for harvesting, beets are ready for harvest when the roots have reached around 3 to 4 inches in size. For storage purposes, you should remove the greens and store the beet roots for up to 2 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Some more great beet varieties that we carry are Merlin, Touchstone Gold, and Chioggia. One of the sweetest beets to grow in the vegetable garden is the Merlin beet due to its high sugar content. The Touchstone Gold beet is another flavorful beet that stands out with it’s orange to gold skin and bright yellow flesh on the inside. While the Chioggia is an older heirloom variety with red and white bullseye design color contrast.