Heirloom Beet ‘Bulls Blood’ (Beta vulgaris)

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Plant Details

Category: Vegetable
Light: Full Sun
Bloom Season:
Height: 8-12" / 
20-30cm
Space: 10-12" / 
25-30cm
Zones: 10, 11, 12
Lowest Temp: 30° to 40°F / 
-1° to 4°C
Colors: Red
Days to Maturity: 50-60
Fruit Size: 2-3" /  
5-8cm

Basic Care

Plant in a reliably sunny spot. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil and cooler temperatures. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Harvest as needed.

Water

Keep well-watered.

Soil

Fertile, well-drained soil.

Feed

Use a fertilizer formulated for vegetables.

Fast Growth

Fragrant

Culinary

Beds

Features

A gorgeous heirloom beet that has been a gardening favorite since the mid-1800’s. ‘Bull’s Blood’ is grown as much for its deep burgundy foliage as for its delicious roots. For those short on garden space, ‘Bulls Blood’ could easily be grown among garden flowers to provide dramatic color contrast until harvest time. Young leaves can be picked for salad until the beets mature. The tops can later also be used for greens. Beets are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Uses

Delicious baked or boiled. Cooked beats can be chilled and chopped for condiments, sliced in salads, or prepared as a cold soup. “Borscht” is a chilled beet soup popular in Eastern European countries. Beets may be canned or frozen for later use. Greens can be eaten fresh when young. Older greens can be cooked similar to spinach. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.

Heirloom Beet ‘Bulls Blood’ (Beta vulgaris) Care Guide

Select a sunny site, away from trees and close to a water source if possible.

Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy. Give plants an extra boost by adding a granulated fertilizer formulated for vegetables or and all-purpose feed (such as a fertilizer labeled 5-10-5).

Remove the plant from the container. If plants are in a pack, gently squeeze the outside of the individual plant cell while tipping container to the side. If plant doesn’t loosen, continue pressing on the outside of the container while gently grasping the base of the plant and tugging carefully so as not to crush or break the stem until the plant is released. If the plant is in a pot, brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.

Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.

Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the garden and shorter plants in the foreground.

Plan ahead for plants that get tall and require staking or support cages. It’s best to install cages early in the spring, at planting time, before the foliage gets bushy. Vining vegetables can occupy a lot of space, so provide a trellis, fence, or other structure that allows the plant to grow vertically to maximize garden space.

Herbs are ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for a continuous harvest year-round.

Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy.

Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the landscape design and shorter plants in the foreground. To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.

Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.

Push the soil gently around the roots filling in empty space around the root ball. Firm the soil down around the plant by hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down on the soil by foot. The soil covering the planting hole should be even with the surrounding soil, or up to one inch higher than the top of the root ball. New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks to get them well established.

Finish up with a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch such as shredded bark or compost to make the garden look tidy, reduce weeds, and retain soil moisture.

Ideally water should only be applied to the root zone – an area roughly 6-12” (15-30cm) from the base of the plant, not the entire plant. A soaker hose is a great investment for keeping plants healthy and reducing water lost through evaporation. Hand watering using a watering wand with a sprinkler head attached is also a good way to control watering. If the garden area is large, and a sprinkler is necessary, try to water in the morning so that plant foliage has time to dry through the day. Moist foliage encourages disease and mold that can weaken or damage plants.

Thoroughly soaking the ground every 2-3 days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance. How often to water will depend on rainfall, temperature and how quickly the soil drains.

To check for soil moisture use your finger or a small trowel to dig in and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.

There are several reasons to prune vegetable plants: to help contain a plant’s size, to promote bushy compact growth, to remove dead or diseased stems, and to promote larger, healthier fruit yields.

Flower buds can be pinched off to force the plant energy into fewer fruits that develop faster.

Vining plants can become invasive in a confined garden space. If necessary, entire vines can be removed down to the main stem to keep plants under control.

Never prune away more than 1/3 of the plant or it may become weak and unproductive.

Remove vegetables as soon as they mature. Leaving them on the plant any longer than necessary can affect flavor and texture, and mature fruit steals energy from younger developing fruits.

Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant’s size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.

Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.

Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can’t be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.

A well prepared planting bed enriched with organic matter such as compost or manure and a mild general-purpose, granulated fertilizer gets plants off to a good start. Give plants a boost later in the season with a fertilizer formulated for vegetables.

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed.

Be sure to keep the garden well-weeded. Weeds take vital moisture and nutrients away from the vegetable plants.

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.

A general-purpose fertilizer for house plants can be used for feeding cacti or succulents but it must be diluted to one quarter the strength of the normal rate.

Companion/Combination Plants

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