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Chapter 20, The Idaho Master Gardener Program Handbook
I.CultivationCultivate (shallow) when necessary to re-move other plant competition. Deep cultiva-tion close to the plants destroys much of theroot system and reduces yield and quality.J.WateringBeans have a water stress point of 60 per-cent. When the percentage of water in soildrops below this level, the plant will start todehydrate, and growth will be slowed downor stopped. To estimate water percentage,take a handful of soil at the 6-inch depth andsqueeze it into a ball in your hand. If itforms a ball and your hand feels like it has afilm of water on it, the soil moisture will be60 percent or higher. If the soil moisture isbelow 60 percent, you will not feel the filmof water on your hand, and it is time to wa-ter again. Plant growth can suffer from toomuch or too little water. The symptoms willbe the same. As the percentage of soil mois-ture drops the oxygen level in the soil in-creases.K.InsectsLygus bugs, nitidulid beetles, aphids includ-ing the bean aphid, army worms and cut-worms, grasshoppers, pea leaf weevil, cornmaggot, slug, spider mites, cucumberbeetles, and wireworms create problems inbeans.L.DiseasesCommon diseases include brown spot, curlytop, halo blight, mosaics, necrosis, root rot,rust, sclerotinia disease, white mold, seedrot, and seedling blight.M.HarvestingBeans can be harvested when pods are 3inches long but before the seed is muchlarger than the diameter of a pencil lead.Harvest every 3 to 4 days to prevent overmaturity. Frequent picking stimulates theplants to produce new pods and helps to en-sure a heavy harvest. Disturbing wet vinesspreads rust and other diseases.
A.Food ValueA pound of raw, peeled, common red beetsconsists of 90.9 percent water, 5.0 grams of protein, 0.5 gram of fat, 23.7 grams of carbo-hydrates, and 145 calories.B.DescriptionBeets are native to the Mediterranean areaof north Africa, Europe, and west Asia.They are cool weather biennials that aregrown as annuals for their leaves and roots.The roots may be round, flat, or elongated.They are usually red in color, but there areseveral golden varieties.C.Yield Per PersonOn the average, each person consumes 7 to12 pounds of fresh beets during a growingseason, and an additional 12.5 to 30 poundsof canned and frozen beets. Each foot of row space should produce approximately1.25 pounds of beets.D.SeedbedBeets grow best in sandy loam and peatsoils. Heavy clay soils can be improved bythe addition of organic matter. Seedbedpreparation should start when the soil hassufficient moisture to form a ball thatcrumbles into medium-sized fragments.Cultivate to mix crop residues and organicmatter into the top 7 to 8 inches of soil, de-stroy current weeds, and provide a smallgranular-type bed for planting. Overculti-vated soil becomes powdery and has a ten-dency to crust. The ideal pH for beets isfrom 6.0 to 7.5, although a pH value near8.0 is acceptable.E.Seed TimeThe best time to seed beets is 2 to 4 weeksbefore the last killing frost in the springwhen soil temperature is 50°F or above. Se-lect early maturing varieties that ripen in 55to 65 days.F.Planting Specifications:
Ounce per foot0.01Seed per foot15 to 20 Row width2 to 18 inchesGermination10 to 15 daysSeed depth1/2 to 1 inchPlant spacing2 to 3 inches Row spacing12 inches
G.Planting SuggestionsBeets need a cool soil to grow and goodspacing for sunlight. Their frost tolerance is