Growing Beets: Undersized Roots

June 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Undersized chioggia beet

I’ve been waiting and waiting (not so patiently) for my chioggia beets to mature.   My head filled with thoughts of a lovely salad with warm roasted beets, goat cheese , balsamic vinaigrette, and lots of fresh-ground black pepper. Today, the nice, leafy green tops suggested that they are ready to be pulled and consumed.  After a quick look at the seed packet, a little calendar-counting, and the first beet was out of the ground.

What a disappointment it was to behold a puny, undersized root (smaller than a marble).  A little research on Bing (yes, I use Bing) and the likely cause of my problem was discovered.  Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer stimulated growth of the leaves at the expense of the roots.  It turns out that the fish emulsion fertilizer that I used is high in nitrogen.

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