Providing practical knowledge for market gardening in the Southern United States.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Priming Beet Seeds

This past weekend, I started beets, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Yesterday, I started collards. Of all of those plants, I have the most trouble with beets. Each time I have attempted to grow them, they suffer from poor germination.

The first time I attempted to grow them, germination was abysmal. Germination for my second attempt was bad but not abysmal, and I was able to harvest some beets. During my fourth attempt, I started beets in early fall in a 72-cell seed tray and then transplanted them in the field. Germination was moderately successful, but the beets succumbed to the fall heat which is common in Georgia during October and sometimes in early November.

For this spring, I primed my beet seeds before seeding them in cell trays. Priming means that I soaked the beet seeds for 24 hours prior to seeding them. The water encourages the seeds to germinate quicker. My goal is to grow about 150 beets. I did not dedicate a large soil block to their cultivation due to my past difficulties. If growing them goes well this spring, then I will reassess how many I grow in the future.

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