• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

do beets HAVE to taste like dirt?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 302
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
55
books goat homestead kids
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think beets are gorgeous.

Bright, deep jewel-red, and they look like they would be delicious. Except every time I've tasted one, they taste like DIRT to me.

I was recently reading a gardening book called "Grow for Flavor" and the author maintains that some beer varieties do NOT taste like dirt. Can anyone concur? I am really tempted to see if I can find some of the varieties he said didn't taste so soil-y.
 
gardener
Posts: 2138
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
295
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've always hated them.  They just taste like blood (iron) and soil to me.  Metal and rocks and tasting notes of loam and sand.

Yes, there is childhood food trauma involved -- the old "forced to eat" nonsense -- but I have been able to overcome that where most other garden veggies are concerned.  Beets?  Ugh, no, no, no.
 
pioneer
master steward
Posts: 5502
Location: Pacific Northwest
1620
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The yellow/gold ones are a whole lot better tasting to me. Much less dirt flavor. The red ones are better than the purple, same with the Chioggia candy-striped ones. I really like the yellow ones. Haven't tried the white ones, though.

Try planting a "rainbow blend." It's an affordable way to try the different flavors! Like Territorial Spring Color Beet Blend

 
gardener
Posts: 2446
105
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like beets but I only eat them fermented.  They are continually advocated by doctors as astonishingly nutritious, so I feel an obligation to try to find a way to eat them.  Fermenting also eats up the sugar.
John S
PDX OR
 
pollinator
Posts: 800
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with Nicole--gold beets are much better. I think it's even a different flavor.

Roasting instead of boiling helps too.
 
Posts: 257
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
18
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also with the yellow ones the leaves are pretty palatable in a salad or if you leave one until it's too woody to eat the roots.  I also bake mine in their skins in a covered casserole dish or wrapped in foil.
 
gardener
Posts: 3609
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
880
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Whenever a new field is auditioning to be added to my farm, I taste the soil. If that flavor isn't something that I want in my food, then I won't farm on that field... Root crops plain old taste like the dirt they are grown in.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 2138
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
295
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Root crops plain old taste like the dirt they are grown in.



This is a digression, but:

My sister and I both come from Alaska, where the pest pressure is much lower.  And our mother was an organic gardener.  But she (my sister) has picked up a willingness to dust pesticides on her plants when bugs show up, about which I harass her endlessly. 

When she showed up down here in Oklahoma and planted her first garden, it was in a garden plot on land she bought from a Christian Dominionist who firmly believed in that Genesis 1:26 verse about having "dominion over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" which he interpreted as carpet bombing his land with every known 'cide and shooting anything that moved inside his fencelines.  Since there wasn't a bird or a beneficial insect to be seen in her garden, she got buried that first year in every kind of aphid and beetle and plant-chewing bug, including many kinds she'd never seen or heard of.  She responded in reflexive horror by sprinkling so much white deathpowder that it looked like snow in her garden.  It wasn't a very productive garden (but then, mine isn't either, for different reasons) but when it came time to harvest, she began complaining horribly about "your nasty Oklahoma soil."  I'm like "whuh?"  She explained "everything that grew in my garden has this sharp nasty taste, there's something wrong with the soil down here."  And she wasn't wrong about the flavor, her veggies all tasted metallic/acidic.  Sort of like sticking your tongue on the terminals of a nine-volt battery.

So I fed her some sweet tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden (very similar soil) and (because I knew she didn't want to hear my usual speech about her 'cides) I threw her prior property owner under the bus.  I gently interrogated her about how many different partial sacks of agricultural poisons and chemicals she found on the property when she purchased it, and how many of those she figured he had scattered on the soil in her garden, and what she figured each one of them probably tasted like when uptaken by plants.  I never mentioned her own "snow" in that conversation but she's smarter than I am, I figure she took my point without me needing to.  She's been a lot more careful with her chemicals in subsequent years and I've heard much less grumbling about "bitter-tasting Oklahoma dirt."
 
Posts: 13
4
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Grew these this year and can vouch for the claim on the site: Badger Flame Beet
 
Posts: 174
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
28
cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love beets, so many ways to serve them:

1. Roasted with other root vegetables
2. Grated into a bowl, add a bit of vinegar, salt and served as an accompaniment to salads, cold meats and sauerkraut
3. Boiled with a bit of salt, let to cool in the water, pealed, sliced, sprinkled with a bit of vinegar and sugar, used as per the over sweetened tinned stuff
4. Slices put onto hamburgers - that's a traditional Aussie thing: a real proper hamburger has beetroot on it!
5. Not to forget Borscht - yum!
6. The young leaves are also good in a mixed salad

Beets have that earthy, umami flavour; enhanced with salt, vinegar or sugar depending on the use.
 
Posts: 6613
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
625
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love that earthy flavor also!  I rarely have a good crop but I keep trying.
My favorite way to cook is in a clay cooker in the oven, plain trimmed up unpeeled whole beets with a bit of water...slip the skins and then maybe some balsamic vinegar, but usually just plain warm or cold.  The greens are wonderful.

Growing up (50's and 60's) mom cooked beets with some kind of cornstarch thickener that was sweetened and maybe a little vinegar?  I didn't realize how wonderful they tasted until I grew my own.  Same with sweet potatoes...I think a lot of kitchens ruined sweet potatoes forever for some when they were only made into an overly sweet dish topped with marshmallows....the plainer the better for me.

Dan Boone, I wonder if I should apologize for my back to the land generation to you?  Our sons have some similar stories ...many of their close friends are children of that era though so they have become a 'tribe' in themselves...lots in common.
There was not the easy availability of shared information back then and we many times had to just dig in and wing it for better or worse......
 
pollinator
Posts: 1914
Location: Toronto, Ontario
142
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like to look at beets and other plants that really uptake the taste of your soil as an edible soil quality indicator. It's not going to tell you what your soil needs, necessarily, unless you taste the dirt and the veg regularly enough and compare that to soil analyses to figure out what specific tastes mean, but you will definitely taste if there's something bad wrong with your soil.

I am Canadian of Polish descent. By that, I mean that my Dad's parents were forced ex-pats after WWII left Poland in Soviet hands, and he was born in Toronto after they tarried for a decade or so in England. My mother's family came over in 1966 when she was just a toddler.

Barszcz (that's the Polish spelling, and the pronunciation is phonetic, if you speak Polish) is a staple, but I only realised when I made it myself that so much of the taste that I associate with it is actually the celery and garlic added.

Our favourite way of using beets at home on the regular is to bake them in an enamelled cast-iron pot in the oven for an hour at 425 F, slip the skins, slice them up, and make a beet salad with wilted spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese (or feta), and dried cranberries.

I find, though, that even with Detroit Dark Red, if I don't like the taste of the soil on my tongue, I won't appreciate the earthy flavour as much as I will when the soil tastes rich, not sour or bitter, but peaty, loamy, and a little nutty, probably from the coffee grounds in my compost.

And I love the candy cane variety, and the giant golden ones (I think the last I ate were a variety of mangelwurtzel, seriously almost as big as my head, and still firm and good to eat).

For my money, they are probably one of the best crops for a newly created and freshly manured garden bed. They love rich soil, somewhat like squash, I suppose.

-CK
 
gardener
Posts: 4950
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
582
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All root vegetables will pick up some of the flavonoids of the soil they are grown in, the amount of fungi mycelium in the soil is what will reduce those flavonoids which translates into less "soil" flavor in the vegetable.
This is true for carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, horseradish, parsnip, etc.

We have experimented with soils for beets in particular since wolf and I love them pickled and fresh cooked.
So far we have not found the magic formula but we are getting closer and below is what we will be using this next year in our test containers (50 gal. drums laid on their side with a 12 inch slit cut out for planting in).
My test drums have drainage holes covered with copper wire screening.
I mix up a batch by weights, more for ease of record keeping than anything.

25 lbs. sand (sharp is better than playground sand since the particles are smaller and uniform)
15 lbs. composted manure (ours is donkey, hog and chicken manures mixed with straw, spoiled hay and leaves)
10 lbs. compost (no manure just grass cuttings and straw, leaves, shredded paper)
10 lbs. sandy loam (our soil dug up and added after passing through 1/4" sieve)
Mix together well (I use a cement mixer)
Pour into container and plant and water.

If you want to make sure all the minerals are present 1/4 cup of Sea-90 would be a good way to take care of that.
currently we are not adding minerals, once we find the nearly perfect mix we will do a second trial of that mix with the Sea-90.

Redahwk
 
pollinator
Posts: 138
Location: PNW
21
books food preservation homestead cooking tiny house trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hated beets for most of my life.  However, several years ago my mom had a small garden where she grew beets.  She made fantastic stir fries and a few times that summer she added beet greens with baby beets attached.  They were ambrosia, seriously the best part of the stir fry.  I was hooked.  Over the years, I have slowly worked my way into eating full sized beets - but they are still only truly tasty when eaten with a big plate of steamed greens to help balance the flavor (and the smaller beets are still my favorite).
 
Posts: 273
Location: Middle Georgia
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
25 lbs. sand (sharp is better than playground sand since the particles are smaller and uniform)
15 lbs. composted manure (ours is donkey, hog and chicken manures mixed with straw, spoiled hay and leaves)
10 lbs. compost (no manure just grass cuttings and straw, leaves, shredded paper)
10 lbs. sandy loam (our soil dug up and added after passing through 1/4" sieve)
Mix together well (I use a cement mixer)
Pour into container and plant and water.

If you want to make sure all the minerals are present 1/4 cup of Sea-90 would be a good way to take care of that.
currently we are not adding minerals, once we find the nearly perfect mix we will do a second trial of that mix with the Sea-90.

Redahwk



My problem with beets is that they just don't seem to grow here (greens get big but roots stay miniscule). The soil is a loose combo of sand and red clay. Its not just me,  other far more experienced gardeners around here also say they just can't get beets (or spinach) to grow well.
 
Posts: 85
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lucrecia,  could that be due to some imbalance in your big 3 minerals (NPK)  I find if I'm heavy on the N with not much PandK plants go bananas with green leaves, but doesn't do much fruit and root stuff.  
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 3609
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
880
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I grew up loving the taste of potatoes. Then I got married, and moved East to a big city. The potatoes there tasted horrid to me. They just didn't taste like potatoes. Ugh!!!

So a few years went by, and I went home. On the way, I stopped at a rest area, and when I got out of the truck, It smelled just like a good potato aught to taste! Ah tasty Idaho potatoes. So when I returned East, I pulled out the bag of potatoes, and it said, "Grown in Michigan". Ha! Since then, I have paid attention to the flavor profile of garden ecosystems. Soil is one component of a plants flavor.  It seems to me like plants that are stressed by lack of consistent soil moisture can turn taste much earthier. There are some plants (particularly brassicas) that are very difficult for me to grow properly during hot weather, due to the low humidity.

 
pollinator
Posts: 377
Location: SF Bay Area
48
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Never thought that beets taste like dirt, that's turmeric for me. Maybe you would prefer baby beets, so many root vegetables taste best when little, like turnips.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1914
Location: Toronto, Ontario
142
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just like grapes, hops, and cannabis, I think the specifics of soil and environmental conditions affect the terroir of food. We taste the difference when we marvel over how superior to hothouse-grown cardboard tomatoes the ones we take out of our gardens are; I think it's probably the same with everything, just that some foods present the differences more.

-CK
 
gardener
Posts: 7548
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
451
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not super fond of beets, but I do like beet tops and swiss chard which is like a beet top that doesn't have a bottom. I'm not sure how they compare nutritionally but they are parts of beets and the part that I don't mind eating.

When I first looked the name of the thread, I thought maybe Bethenny was mistaken and thought those horrible turnips were a type of beet. Nothing short of exorcism could improve turnips.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 2138
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
295
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Judith Browning wrote:Growing up (50's and 60's) mom cooked beets with some kind of cornstarch thickener that was sweetened and maybe a little vinegar?



Distilled white vinegar and cornstarch, makes a bright blue (if you have hard red/green color vision deficiency like mine) acidic gravy that's utterly inedible.  The recipe is called "Harvard Beets" and it's pretty much the only way my mother ever prepared/served them.  Here's a recipe
  -- only I see that in classic mid-20th-century fashion, it calls for quite a bit of white granulated sugar, which my mother distrusted in proper back-to-the-lander fashion.  So I'm sure she omitted it, or cut it from 2/3 cup to two teaspoons.  Hence my memory of this dish as a wild nighmare of blue acid bitterness and goop full of chunks that taste of blood and dirt.

Judith Browning wrote:Dan Boone, I wonder if I should apologize for my back to the land generation to you?  Our sons have some similar stories ...many of their close friends are children of that era though so they have become a 'tribe' in themselves...lots in common. There was not the easy availability of shared information back then and we many times had to just dig in and wing it for better or worse......



Hah -- there's certainly a few things to apologize for but I can't see it as your job in particular.  Mom pored over her Mother Earth News and her Rodale magazines and her Whole Earth Catalog and tried to integrate with what she learned in college before having babies made her drop out of her home economics degree, which led to some odd results.  She was a brilliant woman and a talented artist and crafter and I often pause to think of how freakin' dangerous she would have been if she'd ever had access to the internet (she passed in 1992 so she missed it by that much.)  I think about the garden she scratched out of the permafrost on the banks of the Yukon River basically using nothing more exotic for genetic material than you could get from Johnnie's Seed Company and Seed Saver's Exchange circa 1977 and I wonder what she'd have done if she'd had access to the whole world (literally) of short-season varieties and extreme cold-hardy perennials that you can order these days.  Would she have had more than one beet recipe (repeated endlessly in the face of bitter complaints from all her children, because there was a washtub full of beets in the rootcellar and that was the only beet recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and she didn't like them either so she didn't feel creative about them) if she could have had access to a place like permies.com with a thread like this?  We had two woodstoves going 2/7 and never had less than six different kinds of root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabegas, beets, onions) in the root cellar, how come she never once served us mixed roasted vegetables?  (We did have to buy the onions in 50lb sacks.)   All I can think of is that she never heard of roasted vegetables, it wasn't on her culinary radar, and so she never thought of it.

Addendum: most beet recipes I see call for "slipping" the skins off before prepping and serving.  My mother had a notion that the skins of vegetables is where all the nutrition lurked.  She didn't remove the skins from anything unless preparing presentation dishes for guests.  (She had that home ec training, she knew that skins detracted from appearance and attractiveness, she just didn't care where her family's health was on the line as she saw it.)  So, though I can't remember, I assume that every beet dish I ever got served also included the beet skins. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 4950
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
582
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

My problem with beets is that they just don't seem to grow here (greens get big but roots stay miniscule). The soil is a loose combo of sand and red clay. Its not just me,  other far more experienced gardeners around here also say they just can't get beets (or spinach) to grow well.



In the south  we have to grow beets early and late in the season, once it gets hot beets are doomed. (same goes for all the brassicas like Broccoli, Brussel sprouts etc.)
We plant our spring beets in mid February and is harvested just before June gets going, (we use row covers until the rainy season is petering out), our fall beet crop goes in about mid September and we harvest just before the first killing frost.
We harvest the outer beet greens and use them like you would kale, turnip or mustard greens all throughout the growing season.
The real trick is keeping the soil moist and using a mulch between the rows does help in the fall more than in the spring.

Clay soil is not good beet soil, you would need to add compost and then add sand, in that order so the clay doesn't turn into brick making material.

One of our beet beds was mostly red clay (topsoil was only about 6 inches deep at the outset), we added in 150 lbs. of good compost and then we added 275 lbs. of 8 mesh sandblasting sand (sharp sand).
We still don't have this bed in great beet growing shape but we can grow beets in it and get a fair crop.
What I've been doing is adding the experimental drums after the spring season is over to this beet bed, it is getting better as I go along with the testing (this was the 4th year of testing soil mixes).

I would recommend picking one bed (ours is 36" wide and 18 feet long for two planted rows) and growing some winter peas, clovers, buckwheat and then turning those into the soil or chop and drop then turn the soil.
Don't go deeper than 8 inches when turning and once you have that done, come back with some mushroom slurries to get the fungal part of the soil built up.
When you have the soil starting to get nice and crumbly then add sand to open up the structure of the soil (just spread it and use a garden fork in a twisting pattern (straight up and down then twist once in each direction) to work the sand down into your newly structured soil).
Beets love to have lots of fungi in their soil, it allows the bacteria to move all the needed nutrients to the plants root system and that seems to be a key factor for growing good tasting beets and other root crops.

Never eat the skin, it is where all the bitter likes to settle in. The easy way to slip the skins off is to steam the beets for 10 to 15 minutes and use nitrile gloves and an old "tea towel" to rub the skins off and keep your hands from being dyed by the beets.
Beet juice is one of the nicest reds (maroon) you can natural dye with, I've done cotton and wool yarns in the past.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 100
Location: South of Capricorn
15
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ah, my guilty pleasure is harvard beets-- (with sugar, for pete's sake)!! I'm a monster! (my family thinks i'm nuts so I don't make them eat it, haha).

I love beets but can't eat the greens for the dirt taste (and yet i love chard/silverbeet. go figure).
I love to roast them, with garlic and sesame oil and salt, or to make a russian salad with mayonnaise, raw garlic, and maybe some walnuts. or if we eat beet salad, with raw onions, vinegar, and either dill or parsley, strong tastes.
 
Nicole Alderman
pioneer
master steward
Posts: 5502
Location: Pacific Northwest
1620
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:

For my money, they are probably one of the best crops for a newly created and freshly manured garden bed. They love rich soil, somewhat like squash, I suppose.

-CK



Oh THAT'S why I was able to grow them the first year I made my lasagna garden, but haven't successfully grown them since. I just need to treat them like squash! Got it! Thank you!!!
 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
4
trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like beets. I've never knowingly eaten dirt. But using beets as a guide, then I guess I like dirt! Clean dirt is best!..... I guess. Maybe it'd be a good idea to use a brush on your beets before you scald them.
 
Posts: 131
Location: SW Ohio
17
chicken duck fish forest garden fungi cooking tiny house trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Duda wrote:I like beets. I've never knowingly eaten dirt. But using beets as a guide, then I guess I like dirt! Clean dirt is best!..... I guess. Maybe it'd be a good idea to use a brush on your beets before you scald them.


I guess I like dirt flavor too? Y'all are making me think I'm crazy, I've never noticed a dirt flavor with beets, only with turnips, potatoes and radishes. I was raised eating beets boiled until tender and then the skin is easy to peel off. Burned fingers many times peeling hot beets. We get the red ones. I also incorporate beets into my turnip pickle jars, makes the turnips neon pink.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
Posts: 273
Location: Middle Georgia
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Genevieve Higgs wrote:Lucrecia,  could that be due to some imbalance in your big 3 minerals (NPK)  I find if I'm heavy on the N with not much PandK plants go bananas with green leaves, but doesn't do much fruit and root stuff.  



Last time I added the nutrient (potassium? or is it magnesium? Can't recall) that is supposed to help root development and it still fizzled. Sheesh some stray beets were over 6 months old and had teeny little roots. Carrots seem to do okay though.

Gary Pilarchik (has a popular gardening channel on yourube) says he thins the beet seedlings within 3-4 days after they emerget because he believes it will stunt their growth if they are thinned any later. He suspects that the seedlings KNOW there are other seedlings close by so they don't produce huge roots (and plants actually do recognize/cooperate with other closely related plants instead of trying to squeeze the other out).
 
pollinator
Posts: 1147
Location: RRV of da Nort
85
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Clay soil is not good beet soil, you would need to add compost and then add sand, in that order so the clay doesn't turn into brick making material.



It may be that the natural organic layer of our local soils combined with the glacial lake-bed sand combines to combat the abundance of clay.  Nevertheless, the high clay soils of the region still support high beet yields here, producing over 50% of the nation's sugar beet crop.  Some of the fields are still pretty crusty when dry on account of the clay content....like walking on boulders after fall cultivation....but it's a pretty wide mix with other fields being pretty sandy.

Lucrecia A. wrote:  "Last time I added the nutrient (potassium? or is it magnesium? Can't recall) that is supposed to help root development and it still fizzled. Sheesh some stray beets were over 6 months old and had teeny little roots. Carrots seem to do okay though."

Hmmmm...interesting that the carrots are okay. I would suggest looking into possible slow-acting root disease on your beets.  Note the similar issue on radishes in this link:  https://permies.com/t/40/57002/Garden-Failures#534991
Aphanomyces and some similar acting diseases like scab (caused by Streptomyces on beets) can reduce yield and cause scurfing of the surface.  And this disease would not affect your carrots per se.  Depending on the pH of your soil you could try natural approaches like adding lime to the soil as well as using biological control concoctions for root diseases in certain garden catalogs. (see number 2 under 'biological control measures' in the link http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Beet_RootRot.htm ).   Just some ideas.....

Edited to add that the beet bulletin from Cornell was dated 1986.....lots of new products for biological control from garden catalogs and online suppliers since that date.
RRVclay.JPG
[Thumbnail for RRVclay.JPG]
 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1147
Location: RRV of da Nort
85
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow....interesting note on the earthy flavor in beets.
GeosminBeetEarthiness.JPG
[Thumbnail for GeosminBeetEarthiness.JPG]
 
Nicole Alderman
pioneer
master steward
Posts: 5502
Location: Pacific Northwest
1620
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
 
Nicole Alderman
pioneer
master steward
Posts: 5502
Location: Pacific Northwest
1620
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks like the red and goldens have lower levels, with the Chioggia the highest (https://www.justbeetit.com/beet-blog-index/beetroot-greens-varieties-types)

For beet non-enthusiasts interested in enjoying the benefits of beets without the intense "earthy" flavor, choose a Red (Detroit Dark Red or Red Ace) or Golden Beet variety and perhaps avoid the Chioggia Beet. This beetroot is strikingly beautiful (looking like a candy-cane) and quite sweet in taste; however, the Chioggia Beet has the highest level of geosmin which contributes to the "dirt-like" taste.

 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1147
Location: RRV of da Nort
85
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:Looks like the red and goldens have lower levels, with the Chioggia the highest (https://www.justbeetit.com/beet-blog-index/beetroot-greens-varieties-types)

For beet non-enthusiasts interested in enjoying the benefits of beets without the intense "earthy" flavor, choose a Red (Detroit Dark Red or Red Ace) or Golden Beet variety and perhaps avoid the Chioggia Beet. This beetroot is strikingly beautiful (looking like a candy-cane) and quite sweet in taste; however, the Chioggia Beet has the highest level of geosmin which contributes to the "dirt-like" taste.



Good sleuthing, Nicole!.....I could only find one other article with the same authors looking at the geosmin content and both were subscription access only unfortunately.  But the link you found seems to have the important information about that flavor.  We've never tried the goldens before and will need to give them a go.
 
Nicole Alderman
pioneer
master steward
Posts: 5502
Location: Pacific Northwest
1620
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My library system has online access to ProQuest, and I'm wondering if I can find the study you linked on ProQuest. I just have to find my library card...
 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1147
Location: RRV of da Nort
85
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are the two links, Nicole...give it a shot!

http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/53/1/67.abstract

https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs/abstracts/57/5/2564

 
Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -Euripides A foolish tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!