Beet, Sugar (Beta vulgaris) - 50 Seeds
About Sugar Beet sugar:
White table sugar comes from either sugarcane or sugar beets and is usually sold without its plant source clearly identified. This is because—chemically speaking—the two products are identical. Refined table sugar is pure, crystallized sucrose, much in the same way that pure salt is simply sodium chloride. Sucrose is found naturally in honey, dates, and sugar maple sap, but it is most concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beets. The refining process renders the original plant irrelevant as the sucrose is completely extracted from the plant that produced it. <br>However, distinguishing between cane and beet sugar is not completely a marketing ploy and is fairly common on sugars sold in health food stores. In order to make sugarcane crystals pure white, the sugar is usually processed with bone char; beet sugar does not require this step. Although the final sugarcane product does not have bone in it, this distinction is important to many vegans and other vegetarians who seek to minimize animal suffering.
•American grown seeds
•USDA Zones 2-12
Soften the seeds by soaking them in water for 2 hours, then plant in full sun and well drained soil 4 weeks before the last expected frost OR midsummer for a fall harvest. Sow them 1” deep and 1” apart in rows 1-2” apart. Tamp down the earth above the seeds to ensure good contact with the soil and germination should take place in 5-15 days. Add compost or other organic matter for healthy growth. For companion planting, plant beets with bush beans, onions, or members of the cabbage family, but avoid planting near pole beans. Since each beet “seed” holds up to 8 actual seeds, the seedlings will need to be thinned to 3” apart. Take care not to bruise the seedlings when thinning. They love cool weather, and can survive in temperatures down to 25° F.
When harvesting, beets have the best taste and tenderness when they are harvested between 1-3” in diameter. After pulling them, twist off the tops about 1” up the stem to prevent the beets from bleeding. In order to preserve the coloring of Chioggia beets, process them whole and slice right before serving. The beet tops which are similar to spinach matures in roughly 40 days. Roughly ⅓ of the tops can be harvested without damaging the plant.
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