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Plant Profile: Beet ‘Ruby Queen’ (Beta vulgaris ‘Ruby Queen’)

Developed over 50 years ago, ‘Ruby Queen’ can be considered an heirloom variety. It was an All American Selection winner in 1957 and is still available today and earning praise and recommendations from experts. The globe shaped, deep red beets have a small tap root, a lack of zoning, and uniform shape. Its uniform shape help make it especially suitable for canning but it is also good boiled, steamed, or pickled. The lack of zoning gives it an attractive appearance when sliced. The greens are delicious when cooked but and are most tender and flavorful if picked when young. For information on “How to Grow Beets read my earlier post.

Days to Harvest: 55-60

Planting Date: Beets like cool moist conditions; two weeks before the last frost date and every two weeks there after except in warm climates where they will get woody in summer heat. In warm climates, sow again a couple of months before the first frost.

Spacing: Sow ½” deep and 1 “ apart; thin to 3-4” apart.

Germination: 8-10 days

Size: Greens 10-12” H; roots may be harvested as soon as they show their shoulders just beneath the soil.

Light: Full sun but tolerates some shade if necessary.

Water: Keep moist but not wet.

Soil: Fertile, moist, well drained.

Fertilizer: Light application of complete fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

Care: Harvest greens from thinnings; harvest roots when golf ball sized.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance.

Suitable for containers? Yes; container should be at least 1” deep and 12” diameter for 6 plants, more if you are growing beets for greens or plan to harvest the roots when very small.

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