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How To Properly Harvest And Store Beets Until Spring

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As soon as the beets are finally harvested, another concern arises - how to preserve the dug roots as long as possible, and if the storage conditions are good enough - the whole winter period. In this material we will try to tell in as much detail as possible about how to collect beets, how to prepare them for storage, and talk about the most common and most reliable ways to store beets. You should know that the storage of beets will only be successful if all the beets put in storage are undamaged and removed from the ground in the most suitable time.

How to properly harvest and store beets until spring
How to preserve excavated beet for as long as possible


  • Causes of spoilage of beets in storage
  • Rules for cleaning beets before putting them in storage
  • How to store beets

Causes of spoilage of beets in storage

Sometimes beet roots begin to rot during storage. Why does this happen? The most common causes of rotting of beets in storage are storing certainly spoiled beets, extreme temperature fluctuations in storage, humidity above 90%, and in general incorrect technology for storing the beets. To avoid all of this, you need to conduct all stages from digging up to putting beets into storage correctly: in no case damage the beets, do not shake off the soil by hitting the beets against each other or the soil surface, do not throw them, prevent temperature and humidity fluctuations in storage, prevent the formation of condensation, frosted beets, etc. If there is a lack of moisture, you can bring buckets or arrange basins and fill them with water, and if there is an excess of moisture, you can place containers of salt or try to air the room.

Rules for cleaning beets before putting them into storage

Timely harvesting of root crops is the first condition for their long-term preservation. Of course, the weather can make significant adjustments to the timing of the harvesting of beets: it may rain, the soil becomes wet and sticky, then you should not hurry and should wait for optimal conditions - a warm day without precipitation.

Before harvesting beets, inspect their stems, as soon as they begin to change color toward yellowing and begin to dry out, you can proceed to harvest the beets.
As for the calendar dates of harvesting beets, they strongly depend on the region of cultivation of the vegetable and on the variety, given that varieties are early, medium and late maturity. If you live in the middle of Russia and planted a early variety, you can harvest it about 50-80 days after sprouting, usually in the first half of August, medium varieties usually harvest 80-100 days after sprouting, the end of August-beginning of September, and late varieties harvest 100-135 days after sprouting, that is in September-October.

The beets should be dug from the plot before the first minimum frosts, as even temperatures around zero can already damage the beets, and the beets will be stored worse, and if the beets freeze, you will not be able to save the crop at all.

The ideal time for harvesting beets is in clear, sunny weather, when the soil is not overwatered, not sticky, but crumbly and easily crumbles from the surface of the root crop immediately after removing it from the soil.

About 20 days before digging up, watering should definitely be stopped. It is best to dig up beets using a pitchfork, but you can also dig them out gently with a shovel, without causing even the slightest damage to the beets. After digging up the beets, the haulm should be trimmed, leaving a petiole about a centimeter long, no more. The soil from the roots should be shaken off or gently scraped off with a soft glove, wash the soil away as many do, this can drastically reduce the shelf life of beet and lead to storage rots.

Just before storing beet roots should be sorted, large put aside to one side, small - to another and be sure to inspect them for the presence of rot, the latter are unacceptable - such roots should be let in processing, preliminarily removing the centers of rot or throw away if the rot affects most of the root crop.

Don't forget that large beets tend to store less than small beets and that small beets can start to shrink, so beets of different sizes should be stored separately. In good weather, this can be done directly on the bed by laying under the roots in ordinary potato bags and laying the roots in a single layer so that they do not touch each other. Dry Beets can be dried for six hours, three hours on one side, then turn over and let the rootcrops lie for another three hours. By the way, you can dry the root crops both after cutting the haulm and before removing it, there is nothing wrong with this, but usually first cut the haulm, and then dry the root crops, so that after drying without delay to put them in storage.

After drying the beet roots before putting them into storage, it is advisable to carry out a second, more thorough inspection, sometimes on the just dug roots damage can be missed, after drying the soil usually completely lags from the roots, then you can see the damage previously undetected. Such beetroots should either be processed or put in a separate location and inspected more often in the future because damaged beetroots will go bad faster.

How to properly harvest and store beets until spring
Beetroots prepared for storage. © capebretonspectator

Ways to store beets

Beets can be placed in permanent storage - for the entire winter - or in temporary storage - when the necessary amount of beets will be taken periodically. Keep in mind that if the temperature in storage rises above seven degrees Celsius, the root crops may begin to grow. Optimal storage conditions for beets are a temperature of 1-2 degrees above zero and humidity of about 90%, these conditions are suitable for all methods of storing beets.

The most common way to store beets is in the basement, directly on potatoes, because they are usually stocked for the winter significantly more than beets. In this case, the beets can be stacked in a couple of layers, thus covering the potatoes. Such storage is especially appropriate in basements where there is low humidity, then the beets can last longer due to the fact that the potatoes will give part of their moisture to the beets.

An equally popular way to store beets - in river sand or in sawdust. For this purpose, you will need boxes with thick walls, with a capacity of up to two dozen kilograms, no more. Boxes should not be placed directly on the floor of the basement, it is better to place them on a small elevation, for example, on bricks laid flat side down. In the base of the box should be poured a layer of river sand or sawdust, then lay a layer of root crops, again pour a layer of sand or sawdust and so on to the top. The sand or sawdust should be slightly moist.

Often beets are stored in ordinary polyethylene bags that hold ten kilograms or more of root vegetables. After placing the root crops in the bag, it should be tied tightly. That the bag does not accumulate moisture, which can spoil the beets, make holes in it, through which extra condensation will escape In the future, you should conduct a revision, and if you notice condensation inside the bag, it should be untied completely to eliminate the accumulated moisture.

For long-term storage, which is usually designed for the entire winter, beets can be stored in piles in the area where it grew. This is usually done by digging a hole about half a meter deep and stacking the root crops in a pyramid usually a meter high. After laying the root crops on top of another meter of straw, and on top of lay brushwood or spruce twigs, so that the straw is not scattered around the area by the wind. As soon as it gets colder, soil should be poured on top, leveling it so that there are no cracks.

Please also read this. Pruning fruit trees after winter

Sometimes before laying in bunches the beets are sprinkled with chalk, the consumption of chalk is usually about 150-250 g per ten kilograms of roots.

How to properly harvest and store beets until spring
Beets in a box for storage. © Mr. H

If you do not have a cellar at your disposal and you are not going to store beets in piles because of their use during the winter, it is acceptable to store them on a cold veranda or balcony, where the temperature does not fall below one degree of heat even in severe frosts. For insurance and additional insulation, the wooden crates can be lined with one centimeter-thick, thin foam plastic. Then a layer of river sand or sawdust should be placed in the base of the box and the beets should be placed in layers.

This preservation option can be used as a last resort - it does not guarantee the long-term preservation of beets, because it is difficult to achieve optimal temperature on the balcony for a long period of time.

For maximum long-term storage, we recommend the following varieties of beets: Pronto, Bravo, Detroit, Larka, Valenta, Rocket, Bona, Bonel, Mulatka and others.

We told about the ways to properly store beets. We hope they will help you save your beet crop until spring and enjoy fresh root vegetables throughout the winter.