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Beta vulgaris

Pronunciation: Bee-ta vul-gare-is
Family: Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot family)
Common Name: Beet, beetroot, chard, mangel-wurtzel
Plant Type:
  • fruits, vegetables
  • biennial
Height to: 4'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Beets and chard are biennial plants, meaning that they do not flower until their second growing season. They require at least a month of cold weather after their roots have matured. In mild winter areas it is possible to obtain seed by planting in summer, and allowing the plants to overwinter; they will bolt to flower the following spring. In cold climates, the plants must be dug before the first hard freeze and stored until spring when they can be returned to the garden.
Plant Perks:
  • Container Gardening
Propagation: Beet and chard seeds are contained in a dry and corky cube-shaped calyx. The entire aggregate (containing 2-5 seeds) is planted, and later the seedlings are thinned to 4-8 in (10. 2-20. 3 cm) for beets and 10-15 in (25. 4-38. 1 cm) for chard. Care must be taken when thinning since the tiny roots are often intertwined. The seed clusters can be broken apart before planting by gently crushing with a rolling pin, but this can damage some of the seeds. Seed longevity: 4 years
Native to: The wild progenitor of beets and chard is the sea beet (beta vulgaris subsp. Maritima), which grows in seaside habitats along the coasts in europe, north africa and the mediterranean region.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - many gardeners find swiss chard, especially some of the red and yellow varieties, attractive enough for the flower border, and indeed some varieties are grown primarily as ornamentals. For food, harvest individual outer leaves of chard as needed, leaving the central, growing part of the plant undisturbed. Chard can tolerate considerable harvesting in this manner. The petioles are usually cooked separately, and served like asparagus. Chard is more heat tolerant than spinach, and often is the only potherb green available in the middle of summer. Beet roots should be harvested while young and tender, no more than 2 in (5. 1 cm) in diameter, lest they become woody and fibrous. And don't overlook the beet greens, which are much like spinach. Care: light: beets and chard produce best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade, especially in the summer and at midday. Moisture: chard should not be allowed to dry out. Beets are a little less sensitive to drought, but both should be watered before the soil is completely dried. Excessive fluctuation in soil moisture will cause beet roots to crack. Hardiness: beets and chard are grown as annuals. In zones 8b, 9 and 10 they are grown in the winter. Elsewhere beets and chard are grown in the spring and all through the summer. Both chard and beets are tolerant of moderate frosts and freezes, and more tolerant of hot weather than most other greens and root crops. Propagation: beet and chard seeds are contained in a dry and corky cube-shaped calyx. The entire aggregate (containing 2-5 seeds) is planted, and later the seedlings are thinned to 4-8 in (10. 2-20. 3 cm) for beets and 10-15 in (25. 4-38. 1 cm) for chard. Care must be taken when thinning since the tiny roots are often intertwined. The seed clusters can be broken apart before planting by gently crushing with a rolling pin, but this can damage some of the seeds.  seed information:  beta vulgaris seed weight: 1500 seeds/ounce optimum soil temperature for germination: 50-85 f seed longevity: 4 years 
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Biennial
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