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Old October 1, 2021   #1
GreenThumbGal_07
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Default My miserable attempt at growing sugar beets

I've grown (red) beets before without a problem. In the ground, not in containers.


This summer (constrained at my location to container gardening) I sowed a bunch of sugar beet seeds in a 7-gal. felt pot, on June 21. They had partial shade for most of the summer (tomato plants had priority) then moved them out into full sun late summer.


The plants never got that big, despite constant watering. They developed some sort of leaf disease that made the foliage look burnt and yellow (yellow spot disease spread by insects, I think).



Anyhow I had to pull them all out the other night. Most of them never developed real roots. I had a few that were the size and diameter of small carrots and they looked like miserable parsnips.


Better luck next time.
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Old October 3, 2021   #2
KarenO
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Sugar beets are generally grown for processing vs actually eating although I understand they are edible. As you say they are sort of white and more like a turnip or raw potato texture.
The likely biggest trouble is they are quite late, something like 95 days compared to more like 55 days for garden beets.
You’d likely do better with a good garden Beet like red ace or Detroit dark red especially if not growing in the ground.
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Old October 4, 2021   #3
GreenThumbGal_07
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Thanks. I specifically wanted to try the sugar beets, not for eating as a regular vegetable, but for processing sugar from the roots (there are informative videos on YouTube on how to do this).

You're right, they are very very late, and I should have started them in the spring, probably March, instead of the first day of summer. Then they would have developed a good strong set of leaves (enough to fend off insects and diseases later in the summer) and consequently a much bigger root. The leaves make the root. No leaves, no root. I'd never had that sort of foliage disease with regular red beets either.
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Old October 4, 2021   #4
NewWestGardener
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I remember our farms used to grow fields of sugar beets, in northern China not too far from the Russian border, given the short growing seasons there, they still grew to maturity in the fall.
So my impression of sugar beets is that they do not require a long growing season. Or perhaps there are varieties for shorter seasons.
We used to cut the roots into chunks and boiled them for a while, ending with molasses to dip bread in.
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Old October 7, 2021   #5
JRinPA
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Maybe next year grow a few red beets in the same container setups. Use them as a control group. You know how the red beets should perform.



Beets in a container or raised box bed do not get as big for me as in a raised row in the ground. I think they much prefer the ground.
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