March 12, 2004
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Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-3140
This article originally appeared in the 3/12/2004 issue.
Beets are a nutritious, easy to grow vegetable. While they are grown mainly for their roots, beet foliage may also be harvested for greens. Beet roots are most often globe-shaped and dark red in color. However, the roots of some varieties can be flat or long and tubular. Golden yellow and white root varieties are also available.
Beets perform best in loose, well-drained soils. Clay soils can be improved by applying and incorporating compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. Raised beds are a solution for poorly drained sites.
To reduce the chance of frost or freeze damage, gardeners should leave the winter mulch on strawberries for as long as possible. Removal of the mulch in March or early April may encourage the plants to bloom before the danger of frost is past. Temperatures of 32 F or lower may severely damage or destroy open flowers. Since the first flowers produce the largest berries, a late spring frost or freeze can drastically reduce yields. Leaving the mulch on through March and early April will delay or slow growth and reduce the risk of frost or freeze damage.