This year we planted eleven different varieties of beets, ranging in color from red, to yellow, to white (even striped). We used two different fertilizers on the beets – Garden Tone and HYRBRIX (vegetable). There were no major advantages of one fertilizer over another, however beet varieties are clearly not all made the same! Varieties we observed were: Pronto (Seeds of Change), Detroit Dark Red, Albino (Seeds of Change), New Century, Golden Detroit, Early Wonder (Lake Valley), Cylindrica, Red Ace Hybrid, Baby Ball (Renee’s Gardens), Chioggia, and Bull’s Blood (Seed Savers Exchange).
Starting with the not-so-red red beets (I’m partial to these because they are anything but ordinary). Albino is a pure white beet, very sweet, and resembles a turnip. Golden Detroit is almost orange in color and my daughter claims they taste like carrots (we have such sophisticated methods of observation). Chioggia is red and white striped. While this is incredibly pretty at first harvest, the color tends to bleed with cooking.
I love the rainbow of colors that can come from one vegetable, and the taste is sweet and subtle. For the red varieties – Cylindrica gives a nice elongated beet which I find great for slicing and grilling. Baby Ball, as the name implies, tends to be smaller. Sizes on the remaining red was fairly consistent. Bull’s Blood has the benefit of beautiful foliage (try incorporating these into an ornamental bed – works great).
Albino was the sweeter beet we tried, while Golden Detroit did not have outstanding germination for us. I can’t say there was a bad beet in the bunch!
Our sales staff was on hand and took bags full of beety goodness home to try for themselves. There are still beets in the ground should you want to see our trials for yourself. The trial garden is open to the public and is to the right of our upper warehouse.