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BETA vulgaris 'Baby Ball'

Image of Beta vulgaris 'Baby Ball'

Family

Chenopodiaceae

Botanical Name

BETA vulgaris 'Baby Ball'

Plant Common Name

Baby Ball Beet, Beet

General Description

Small with smooth skin, 'Baby Ball' beets are sweet, red and perfect for pickling or cooking whole. The ideal harvest size is 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) in diameter. These beets develop quickly and may be harvested about 55 days after sowing. Their bright glossy greens are also edible and have red leaf stems. Early harvest when temperatures are cool will ensure a sweet, mild flavor while older, roots harvested in hot weather often develop a bitter flavor.

Usually grown as annuals, beets are true biennials, which mean they generate large roots and lush foliage in the first year and flower, set seed and die in the second. The flowers are unimpressive but produce lots of seed that can be saved from year to year. Beets originate from Europe where they have been cultivated for hundreds of years.

This is a cool-season vegetable that can be grown in two seasonal cycles, if the growing season is four or more months long. For spring harvest, sow seeds in the garden in early spring, thin them to around a hand's width apart and harvest in early summer. For fall harvest, sow seeds in late summer and harvest roots before the first frost of autumn.

Grow beets in full sun and fertile, friable garden soil. It is best to berm up the soil where they are grown to ensure the roots have lots of loose, well-drained soil. They require regular water and light fertilization. The seeds germinate more quickly if soaked in warm water for 30 minutes before planting.

Beets are especially popular in northern European and Russian cooking because they grow best in cooler northerly regions. They taste great pickled, roasted, sautéed or added to salads and soups. The tender green leaves of 'Baby Ball' may also be cooked and eaten as a green in fresh salads.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    5"-8" / 12.7cm - 20.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Red, Green

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Red, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Red, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes