Seed Count: Approx. 100 Seeds
Days to Maturity: 54 Days
Description: This is an Italian heirloom from the town of Chioggia, near Venice, and has been popular since the early 1800s. It's beautiful and sweet flavored. Sliced roots look like bull's eyes having concentric rings of white alternating with a wine-red. The green leaves are an excellent spinach substitute. Try them pre-blanched and then sauteed in a little of butter with onions for a delicious side dish.
How To Grow
Sowing: Sow beet seeds in well-worked, well drained soil in full sun. Beets are sensitive to acidic soils and prefer a pH of 6.0 – 7.0. If your soil is more acidic, add Garden Lime as directed on the bag. Sow thinly, in rows 12 inches apart and cover with ½ inch of fine soil. Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days. Thin to about 3" apart, when seedlings are 1-2" tall. Beet seeds are actually clusters of seeds and require more thinning than other crops.
Growing: Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote uninterrupted growth. They need about 1 inch of water a week. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before the evening, to minimize disease problems. Avoid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. A basic 5-5-5 fertilizer is sufficient for good beet root and beet green development.
Harvesting: Candy striped beets also produce lovely and tasty pink-stemmed tops that mature in 40 days. One-third of the tops can be harvested without damaging the plant. Harvest roots at about 1 inch for baby beets, up to 3 inches for mature beets. Cook beet greens like spinach, or saute in butter and garlic for a tasty treat. Beet roots can be pickled, grilled, baked, or broiled. Beet plants must weather the winter, in order to produce seed. In warmer climates, simply mulch the plants. In cooler climates, dig up the roots and store them in sand, without the roots touching each other, in a cool and humid location. Then plant them again early spring. The plants will soon go to seed; wait until the seed heads are fully grown and dry before removing them, and store the seeds for up to 5 years.