6 Tips for Harvesting Sugar Beets 6 Tips for Harvesting Sugar Beets

What You'll Need
Seeds
Growing space (1 pound of seed will plant about an acre)
Method for watering
Beet hook, sickle or hoe
Shovel
Herbicide

Sugar beets have been grown successful in the United States since the 1800’s which means there many useful tips for vegetable harvesting, beet harvesting or growing this type of plant have been developed over the years. Used for both human consummation and for livestock they are well worth the effort of growing.  

Tip #1 - Preparing the Soil

Having the right soil is very important for successful for any vegetable harvesting. Sugar beets will grow best in a rich soil. Typical they will not do well if planted in a sandy or clay type soil. Do not plant sugar beets in the same area where a recent vegetable harvest has already been grown if possible. Using a hoe or other equipment turn the soil, mulch it with compost or spread manure over the area. If manure is used be careful not to ‘burn’ the soil by using too much. Bear in mind that sugar beets do best in a spring planting.  

Tip #2 - Planting the Seeds

Keep the seeds in a cool area where they will not dry out before planting. For the best sugar beet harvesting you will want to place two or three seeds an inch deep. Keep the rows at least an inch apart.  

Tip #3 - Culling Sickly Plants

Sometime after two weeks you will begin to see sprouts. You should definitely see sprouts after twenty days and this point you will need to groom the plants by pinching off any wilt or yellowing. Remove any plants that seem sickly as soon as possible. Keep out any encroaching weeds as sugar beets are very vulnerable to competition with other growth.

Tip #4 - Thinning the Plants

As they plants reach 3 inches tall or so beginning the thin them until they are at least 4 inches apart. Seedlings that are thus removed can be used for cooking if desired.

Tip #5 - Weeds and Pests

Groom the area frequently as needed for weeds and keep an eye out for unwanted insects that might be attracted to these plants. Use a light pesticide if needed. Be watchful that rabbits or deer might try to have a sugar beet harvest before you do. There are products on the market that discourage animal activity that is available at most gardening supply stores. Keep the area well watered especially if the overall climate is dry.  

Tip #6 - Harvesting

Around 40 to 45 days after they are planted the sugar beets should be mature enough to harvest. It should be possible to easily pull the plants out of the ground, but if not use a hoe or other implement to dig them out. It is best to start the sugar beet harvesting in the early morning so the plants will not dry out. Keep the harvested plants covered if possible and out of the sun until they can be stored.  

Enjoying the Harvest

The root of the sugar beet and its leafy top are both edible. They can be separated at the time of harvest and be used in a variety of recipes.

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