We are trying a new way to seed the beets. In the early spring with the cold nights and rainy days it is hard to get a beet crop to come up in a good time sequence. The way that we have the garden with plastic mulch on the ground it is hard to get a good germination on root crops like carrots and beets. So I thought I would seed the beets on the seeding table and see what would happen. The first beets I scatter-seeded in a small tray and then transplanted them one per hole in a six-pack tray. This did not work too good as the beets had very long roots when the plants were small and ready to transplant. I had to try and tuck the long roots down into the cell pack; what did work was to seed the beets directly into the six-packs. I seeded one beet seed in each corner of the six packs.
So in one six pack I seeded 24 seeds. What I didn’t know was that beets divide and when you seed one beet often it will split and two will come up. So some of the cell packs had 6 to 8 plants in them. I proceeded to push each seed into the soil and cover them individually by pressing the dirt against them and over them until I had the whole tray covered. I had thought about sprinkling dirt over the top of the seeded tray and them firming it down but I was afraid the seeds would move in the tray and end up in the wrong cell.
In just a week the seeds were germinated and came up wonderfully. In fact I was so surprised to see even more plants than I had seeded since the beets seed divides and makes more plants than seeds. The plants continued to grow very nicely in the trays and were ready to transplant to the garden in about a month. Ken popped them out of the trays and set them in rows spacing them about 4 to 5 inches apart. He said that they were very easy to transplant and just went into the plastic mulch so easily.
After the beets had been in the ground for a few weeks they were beginning to do well and look nice. They did not seem to be set-back at all and the rows are looking good. We will see as they grow how they produce and if they are too crowded or not. I think I will just put 3 seeds in the next ones I start tomorrow and see if that is any better for production.
When we pick beets we just take some from the row and leave the rest to get bigger so I think it will turn out fine. I will keep you posted. 🙂