Onions & Beets

Mid August is a good time to plant Onions and Beets.


When starting crops mid-summer choose varieties with shorter growing cycles.


Onions are easy to grow, have fairly short growing periods, take up little space in the home garden and have lots of culinary uses.  Onions are as hardy as they come. Frosts, freezing temperatures, and even snow will not kill them.  There are lots of kinds to choose from.


Onion seeds do need to be bought fresh each year. Their germination rates do not last more than one year so don't plan all of your harvest around last years' seed.  Sow seed in full sun in well-drained rich soft soil or loam.  Thin to 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 6 to 10 inches apart.  Keep the beds well weeded and watered, at least 1 inch per week. Pull onions when the tops have fallen over and have a paper-like skin. Rinse off the dirt and let the onions dry for a few days. Then, cut the tops and roots off the onion. Allow the cuts to air dry for two or three more days. This will help to seal the onion and avoid pre-mature spoiling.


Beets are easy to grow. Beets don’t take up a lot of space, and do well in small gardens or containers.  They enjoy cool weather and loose, well-drained, alkaline soils. Beets can be planted late summer and will tolerate light frost.  Plant in full sun. Sow seeds 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and 1 inch apart. Cover seeds with 1/2 to 3/4- inches of soil.   Thin seedlings to stand 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart 10 to 14 days after emergence. A month later thin plants to about 4 inches apart.


Harvest beets before the roots reach 3 inches in diameter or the plants will become woody and lose flavor. You can harvest small, tender leaves once the plant is established, but never take more than 1/3 of the plants leaves at any one time.


Always follow the directions on seed packets or plant tags for your specific plant variety.  For more information on summer planting