How to Grow Ruby Queen Beets From Seeds

Growing Ruby Queen Beets from seeds is a rewarding endeavor that can yield a bountiful harvest of these nutritious, earthy vegetables. Known for their rich, dark red color and sweet, tender taste, Ruby Queen Beets are a favorite among gardeners and cooks alike. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, this guide will walk you through the process of growing these beets from seeds.

Understanding Ruby Queen Beets

Before we delve into the planting process, it’s important to understand a bit more about Ruby Queen Beets. This variety of beetroot, as per the USDA, is known for its smooth skin, round shape, and deep red color. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups.

Moreover, Ruby Queen Beets are packed with nutrients. According to the National Agricultural Library, they’re a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. They also contain betanin, a compound that has been linked to numerous health benefits.

Choosing the Right Time and Place to Plant

Like all plants, Ruby Queen Beets have specific growing requirements. Knowing when and where to plant them can significantly increase your chances of a successful harvest.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, Ruby Queen Beets do best in cooler temperatures, making them an excellent choice for spring or fall planting. They also require full sun and well-drained soil.

When to Plant

As a cool-season crop, Ruby Queen Beets can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. This is typically 2-4 weeks before the last expected frost. For a fall harvest, start planting 8-10 weeks before the first expected frost.

Keep in mind that beet seeds can germinate in soil temperatures as low as 40°F, but the optimal temperature for germination is between 50-85°F, as stated by the Penn State Extension.

Where to Plant

Ruby Queen Beets prefer full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade. They also require well-drained soil. A raised bed or a location on a slight slope can help ensure proper drainage.

As for soil type, beets prefer a sandy loam or clay loam. The pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service.

How to Plant Ruby Queen Beets From Seeds

Now that you know when and where to plant, let’s get into the actual planting process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to plant Ruby Queen Beets from seeds.

  1. Prepare the soil by removing any rocks or debris. The soil should be loose and well-drained.
  2. Create rows that are 12-18 inches apart. Each row should be about 1/2 inch deep.
  3. Place the beet seeds in the rows, spacing them about 1-2 inches apart.
  4. Cover the seeds with soil and gently pat down to ensure good contact.
  5. Water the seeds thoroughly. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate.
  6. Once the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin them to about 3-4 inches apart. This gives the beets room to grow.

Caring for Your Ruby Queen Beets

After planting, your job isn’t done. Ruby Queen Beets require regular care to ensure a healthy harvest.

Watering

Consistent watering is key to growing Ruby Queen Beets. The soil should be kept evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can lead to woody, tough beets.

The University of Georgia Extension recommends watering beets deeply once a week, or more often during dry spells. A layer of mulch can help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

Weeding

Beets don’t compete well with weeds, so regular weeding is necessary. Be careful when weeding, though, as beets have shallow roots that can be easily damaged.

Using a hoe or hand weeder, remove weeds when they’re small to prevent them from taking over. Mulching can also help suppress weed growth.

Fertilizing

Ruby Queen Beets are heavy feeders, meaning they require a lot of nutrients to grow. A balanced fertilizer, applied according to package instructions, can provide these necessary nutrients.

The Colorado State University Extension recommends applying a fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium at planting time, followed by a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once the plants are established.

Harvesting Your Ruby Queen Beets

The moment you’ve been waiting for: harvest time! Here’s how to know when your Ruby Queen Beets are ready to harvest and how to do it properly.

When to Harvest

Ruby Queen Beets are typically ready to harvest when they’re about 1.5-3 inches in diameter. This usually takes about 55-60 days from planting, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Keep in mind that smaller beets are usually more tender and sweet. If you prefer larger beets, you can leave them in the ground a bit longer, but be aware that they may become woody.

How to Harvest

To harvest your beets, gently loosen the soil around the beet with a garden fork or your hands. Then, grasp the beet by the tops and pull upward. Be careful not to damage the beet or its roots.

After harvesting, cut off the tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached. This helps prevent the beets from bleeding during cooking. Store the beets in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them.

Conclusion

Growing Ruby Queen Beets from seeds is a rewarding process that can provide you with a bountiful harvest of nutritious, delicious vegetables. With the right timing, location, care, and harvesting techniques, you can enjoy these vibrant beets from your own garden. Happy gardening!

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