Ask a Question forum: Beets and Turnips

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West central Indiana
AuntCC
Jun 30, 2017 7:39 PM CST
My beets and turnips are more of a root than a vegetable, really small. The tops are big and healthy but I am thinking I didn't thin them enough. When is too late to thin and how much should I thin them? Or should I just pull them up and put in something else at this point? I am in west central Indiana right on the line between 5b and 6a and it is the end of June.
[Last edited by AuntCC - Jul 1, 2017 11:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 30, 2017 8:52 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @AuntCC .

When did you plant your beets and turnips? It does take a while for the roots to enlarge, but in the meantime you can thin them to about 3" apart and eat the leaves -- I think beet greens taste a lot better than spinach! (I like to briefly saute them and season with a dash of balsamic vinegar.)
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West central Indiana
AuntCC
Jul 1, 2017 11:43 AM CST
Thanks for your answer WeedWhacker! I planted them in April. I appreciate your advice, I'm going to try thinning them tonite and give them a chance to see what happens.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jul 1, 2017 12:16 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
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Ithaca, NY
judithblair88
Jul 23, 2017 5:00 PM CST
I'm in NY in a mild micro-climate due to proximity to a large lake so my climate might not be too much different from yours. I find beets bewildering. Sometimes they don't seem to grow at all for weeks, then the tops take off but don't have much of a root. Then suddenly, the beet itself will grow quite fast. In my gardens, the plants don't do this all at the same time, so my hope for a crop instead of the occasional beet is dashed. I also plant them in April or even March if the ground is thawed, so time in the ground doesn't seem to be a factor. The beets that do best for me are the ones growing in a part of the garden with loose, sandy soil rather than the dense, organic rich soil in the rest of the garden, so maybe they like to grow where there is less resistance. They aren't going to produce good-sized beets if they're crowded, but they may not even if they aren't crowded. This is a veggie you just plant and hope for the best. The greens are very nutritious, rich in vitamins and lycopene, so if they refuse to produce good beets for you no matter how long you wait, just eat the greens and be glad for the nutrition they afford.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jul 23, 2017 5:06 PM CST
Beet seeds are (what is the word?)...got it! Hurray! "multi-germ" which means that one seed will produce more than one plant. So whenever you sow the beet seeds, be ready to thin. And thin again. And again. Each time you thin, the baby beet greens are perfectly edible in salads or cooked. The goal of all this thinning is to end up with only enough plants, perfectly spaced, to allow the root to grow to a decent size.

Hope this helps, if not now, then for next time. Thumbs up

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Name: Elaine
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 23, 2017 6:17 PM CST
I've found it also helps a lot to mulch around beet plants once the weather warms up, so the roots will enlarge without cracking from drying up in the sun. They normally sort of bulge up out of the soil, but if there is mulch around the stems they are still in the shade and stay moist. It also keeps the ground cooler, and retains moisture in the soil of course.

So, by all means, thin those beets. Then put down some handfuls of hay, or wood chips, or grass clippings or leaves or something in between the plants to help them make beets for you.
Elaine

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Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Jul 24, 2017 3:48 PM CST
AuntCC, hello from southern Colorado;
I love turnips, beets....not so much, but, tried growing both here and failed. I mean I grew them but they were very small and not very good. After questioning a lady friend of mine who recently passed, I found that the problem was my soil. Having hardpan clay is NOT a good growing medium for most root crops.
That was 3 seasons ago and next year I will try again, since I have been amending my soil with perlite, compost and leafmold. I hope to be planting Diakon radish this fall to help break up the lower soil. If this works then maybe I'll even have carrots too!
Am I rambling?.....maybe......., but my point is that your soil may be too hard for them to properly form....?
Anywho, hope this helps. Smiling
J.R.

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