Monday, November 28, 2011

Research - An Informative way to select cultivars that will Beet the competition

A Cylindra Beet in my garden
I love beets. Especially butter beets. It took me a while until I found a beet variety that I liked. Most were round and became hard quickly. Being a gardener that does not like to take chances, I prefer to research my vegetable varieties before growing them. Some vegetables, such as finicky tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer must be researched based on an individual’s climate. However, I can use information about other more forgiving crops, such as beets, from researched conducted in another climate. That is why I like the following websites. The first is Cornell’s Vegetable Varieties for gardeners, which gives individual gardener’s advice on specific crops from various regions. The second is Dave’s Garden Plant files, which also gives gardeners the opportunity to rate a crop. And finally, the grand finale is a searchable database of results of test growing of individual vegetable cultivars from The University of Saskatchewan in Canada. In any case, it was from the Saskatchewan searchable database that I learned about the incredible productivity and taste of the Cylindra, Formanova, or butter beet. And I am so glad I did.

To those who ask about gardening in Tucson I say, "It is a science". That is yet another reason for my blog title. Though this is true for growing many things here, growing beets is a cinch. If you give beets enough water when they are starting out you can start them in early September-October when it is 90 degrees outside and they will happily grow until March- April when it is 90 degrees outside again. How I wish my other crops grew as easily as beets! Another plus about beets is that you can eat both the top and the bottom- though we usually give away the tops to another family (whose children appreciate them more) after my family has our first serving of them.

Think tender buttery texture in the form of a beet.

Even this beet possessed a smooth texture.

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