Beta vulgaris (60 days) Open-pollinated. Prized for its spectacular leaves, not its rough flattened globe-shaped roots. Runaway winner of the 26 varieties in our beet greens trial years back, sweet and nutty with never a hint of oxalic aftertaste, it again received high praise from our tasters more recently. Also a winner in appearance, with large glossy reddish-purple leaves. No bull, it holds quality all summer, with color intensifying as it grows, especially under cool conditions in fall or under winter cover. Bull’s Blood is Eliot Coleman’s red leaf of choice for winter harvest salad mixes (see p. 230 of The Winter Harvest Handbook). Old variety; its name hints of 19th-century origins when beets were known as blood turnips. Selected around 1840 from the French variety Crapaudine for darkest-colored leaves. ②④
2186 Bull’s Blood
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About 800-3600 seeds/oz, with variations. ⅛ oz packet sows 20 ft; 1 oz sows 160 ft.
Days to maturity are from emergence after direct sowing.
Culture: Spring or fall, beets are hardy and easy to grow. Can be sown almost as soon as ground can be worked in spring. Minimum germination temperature 40°, optimal range 60–85°. For full-sized beets, you must thin to at least 3" apart. Early thinnings make good salad greens; baby-beet thinnings cooked with tops are a Yankee delight!
Disease: PM: Powdery Mildew DM: Downy Mildew CLS: Cercospora Leaf Spot looks like someone shot a series of small target-like circles in the foliage. Prolonged periods of rainfall and high humidity exacerbate this disease. In serious cases the spots darken and extend. Rotating crops, removing plant debris, and wider spacing to ensure adequate air circulation are preventive measures.
Scab, the same disease that afflicts potatoes, causes rough brown spots on the skin. Adequate irrigation is a preventive.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.