Sunday, March 18, 2012

Growing Heirloom Beets in Kihei

In the fall I planted 3 varieties of beets - Chioggia,  Egyptian and Lutz. Like radishes and carrots, beets are cool season crops and grow better in colder climates.

The Chioggia was the earliest, Egyptian grew much slower due to the heat and Lutz didn't develop at all. Chioggia is a favorite beet of many heirloom gardeners - it's great that Chioggia could tolerate our warm winter climate.

Thinning the Chioggia and Egyptian Beets
6 weeks

3 months

The cabbageworms, snails and slugs did some damage to the leaves but it didn't affect the growth of the beets. If you're growing beets for the greens it's a good idea to cover them with a tulle net.

2 months

My best results with Chioggia were from seeds planted in November through mid-December. I harvested the Chioggias at 8 to 10 weeks. It's best to plant Egyptian from mid-October to mid November as they weren't ready until 3 months. The beets I grew weren't very sweet and that's typical of my carrots too as they need colder temps to develop sugar.

3 months

In late December of 2016 I planted Touchstone Gold - they took 3 months from seed and were surprisingly heat tolerant - no cracking.

I planted seeds directly into a large container filled with organic potting soil amended with green sand and an organic all purpose fertilizer. The depth of the soil should be at least 8 inches to accommodate the root. I recommend daily water and bi-weekly applications of fish emulsion or a monthly application of an organic all purpose fertilizer. As the beets grew, I added mulch or extra potting soil up to the stems to keep them from cracking or drying in the intense sun.


  1. The beets look lovely Jane. I really need to find a space in the garden to plant a row. It's one veggie that I often forget about.

  2. Hi Robin! I bet beets do really well in your climate. There are so many wonderful fruits and veggies to grow that it's hard to find room for everything. I don't can my harvests as I can't eat sugar so this winter I've been experimenting with fermenting and I grew beets for that purpose.

  3. Aloha, Jane,
    I wonder if a few days of an artificial ice pack on top of the carrot and beet rows (or packed alongside the shoots?) at some growth-cycle moment might trigger more sweet-type flavor. I am tempted to see if I could have the fish-counter guys scoop out their "stale" ice when they clear the display cases - the bonus of scales, fish blood, da kine might give those roots a boost as well. Eh, "free water, free food" just for schleppin' a dusty old ice chest inta da Foodland at night.... No, no tin-foil hats around here!

  4. Hi Pomaika'i! That's a great idea - it might work really well Upcountry. In Kihei ice melts pretty darn quick when it's outside even in the shade. It's hot in Kihei even in the winter.