Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You Can't Beat Beets

I'll be honest and say that while I'll never lack for blog topics, sometimes they are inspired that same day by something I'm doing.  In this case, I was ordering beet seeds (Beta vulgaris) today and was thinking how neat a plant they are in terms of appearance and also how valuable they are as a nutritious vegetable.  The very similar Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) is also quite nutritious but is the option for summer greens (beet greens are edible too).  Over the years, we've grown many beets with the primary intention of showcasing the foliage, particularly with the maroon leaf varieties like 'MacGregor's Favorite', 'Bull's Blood' and 'Soldier' (all seen below).  However, they are so easy to grow and really have received such nice promotions in recent years for their value in our diets.  Beets are low in calories, have zero cholesterol and also contain significant fiber, vitamins, minerals and other anti-oxidants.  The greens are also nutritious and are high in Vitamin C.  Calcium, iron, Vitamin A and many other nutrients are also represented.  It didn't take long to find some photos I've taken of beets like the bed above featuring alternating rows of 'Bull's Blood' beets and 'Touchstone Gold' beets.  What a showy display and the leaves (like 'Merlin' below) can be a nice component in the bed, border or container.  You can't "beat growing beets"...get it? 
After all the snow over the past 36 hours, the gardens are under a 10" blanket of white.  While Larry went out in the gardens for a bit, most of the action was inside.  Larry H. and Urban continued processing lights for storage and worked out an efficient system that has been popularized by Pat M.  Dr. Gredler came in for some painting projects and Bill O. stopped by to help Larry out.  Janice was in for more research and desk work.  Pat C. came in to help me on some preparations for the 2015 Home Garden Tour (mark your calendars for July 11th!).  Kay stopped by this afternoon to help with preparing more handouts for upcoming presentations. We also saw Rollie, Mark S. and some others today.
'MacGregor's Favorite' (above and below)

'Bull's Blood' in composition
'Bull's Blood'
'Bulls' Blood' (above and below)
'Soldier' in composition

'Soldier' (above and below)

'Soldier' (above and below)
 beets in containers (above and below...)

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