When and how to dig carrots and beets?
The question, or rather the whole two questions that plague many summer residents, is when to start digging up beetroot and when to start picking carrots from the garden. Nobody wants to rush with this, but there is no desire to be late either.
The thing is that a lot depends on the correct and most suitable harvesting dates for these, in fact, the simplest root crops: both the taste of the root crops and their quality during processing and fresh consumption and the content of vitamins. If you dig up early, they (vitamins) will not have time to accumulate in them, and of course, the duration of storage of root crops will decrease. After all, having dug either too early or too late, you can get rotting root crops at the height of winter, that is, it is commonplace to lose crops.
A lot depends on a simple inscription on a package with seeds. It shows in black and white how many days should pass from the appearance of the first seedlings to digging root crops. Of course, nature itself invades here: after all, the summer can be hot and with plenty of moisture, and then the timing on the packaging can quite exactly coincide. Or it may be cool and devoid of additional moisture in the form of rain, and then the root crops will ripen later and, accordingly, they will need to be dug up later.
Let's sort things out slowly, and then, I'm just sure of this, by the end of the material you will already know exactly when to dig out carrots and table beets.
When to dig out carrots and beets?
The cultivation of carrots and beets takes place approximately the same and you will not make any special conclusions. But at the very end, the vast majority of gardeners nevertheless converge to a single opinion - you need to dig out carrots after the very first frosts, and beets - be sure to exclude even the smallest ones, otherwise it will definitely not lie.
In general, there is a bit of truth in this, of course. As for carrots, it can tolerate frosts, you can dig it out even after the first autumn snow, it will not freeze. However, to prevent the freezing of carrots did not happen for sure, you need to go a little trick: you should walk around the garden and carefully take the tops of carrots to the soil. This method is definitely not a new one, but it allows carrots to go through all the stages of preparing it for storage. It has long been noticed, and it has been checked more than once or twice that if you dig carrots before the frost, then it will be stored 30% less than when digged after.
As for the table beets, as we have already mentioned, everyone is unanimously convinced that by the first frosts the beets should at least be pulled out of the soil. Although, on the other hand, if it is normal autumn and dry weather without rain, then the beetroot feels quite fine in the soil: it will be preserved much better in the soil than it was dug in a cellar or basement beforehand. Yes, and the beet stafness is further increased by at least 50%.
It is a completely different matter when autumn is rainy. There is an extremely high probability that root crops will collect such an amount of moisture that they do not need that they will begin to deteriorate during storage. It is clear that if you tighten with a digging of table beets in the wet season, then it will be completely unsuitable for storage. Here, gardeners partly turn out to be right, who do not risk in vain and do not wait for a couple of grams to be added, but dig out beets as soon as the threat of the first frost comes, or when the cold autumn rains begin to pour.
The period of digging carrots and beets can entirely depend on the region of cultivation. So, if you are a resident of the southern region, then the excavation will be carried out later, the central - in the middle, and the northern - at the earliest. You need to focus on the forecasts of the beet growing region: for example, if meteorologists foretell severe frosts, then what should we expect? And one must also think about the ripening dates of the variety (which we have already written about).
Yellowing of the lower and middle leaflets may be a signal for digging up carrots. Do not waste time in vain, you can simply remove the root crop from the ground and examine it more closely. If it has the finest snow-white strings-roots, then the root crop is quite ready for harvesting. In the event that cracks are noticed on the root crop, then you need to dig out the entire batch and as soon as possible - the carrots are already beginning to outgrow. As for the harvesting dates, it is optimal - this is the second half of September, closer to October.
Having decided on the timing, you can start digging carrots. To do this, it is better to choose a nice sunny day, of course, do not water it for a couple of days, on the day of excavation, the soil should also be dry. It is easy to dig carrots with a pitchfork: this is not only easier, but carrots can cause a minimum of injuries. You can dig together: one picks up with a pitchfork and slightly pulls the carrots to the surface, and the other at the ends already finally takes it out of the ground. Then, with your hands, and not with a knife or something else, you can try to peel the dirt from the carrots and lay the root crops of equal length on the soil or put aside those that will go to seed production the next year, for storage for consumption. After digging, carefully inspect the root crops: those that have signs of damage should be immediately recycled or freshly eaten, and the whole and fully developed ones should be stored or in a separate box for planting (as seeds).
As for the advice to leave the carrots in the garden to dry directly with the tops, I would argue. In my opinion, you need to immediately cut off most of the tops, leaving the growths a couple of centimeters long maximum, and it’s better to completely remove them, leaving the roots to dry for a couple of hours (otherwise the tops will draw moisture from the root). Next, we send the carrots to a dark place for five or six hours, where it will cool and finally prepare for storage.
After digging, we proceed to the description of the storage order of carrots. There are, in fact, plenty of options here. Naturally, the most optimal room for storing carrots is a cellar or a cellar, where the temperature is just about +4 degrees, and the humidity is 80%. On the balcony, say, in bags, carrots cannot be stored for a long period, it will simply begin to rot there. And if the balcony is not glazed and not heated, then it will simply freeze and die.
A great option is a cellar, shelves are built in it, processed with 2% copper sulphate, boxes are placed on them and carrots are laid, sprinkled with dry and clean sawdust. Instead of sawdust, you can use dry and also clean river sand, a perfectly suitable option (only the slots of the boxes should then be minimal so that the sand does not wake up).
In individual cases, the roots of carrots are still stored on glazed balconies, but without heating. First, they are dipped in a clay mixture, allowed to dry, and such carrots can safely lie all winter if it is not critically cold.
In rooms with little humidity, in other words, dry rooms, carrots can also be stored in ordinary bags, but ventilated, with holes made in advance, sprinkled with root sawdust.
In the basements, carrots are stored, diverting an area under it, usually fenced with fresh, clean boards. Dry and fresh boards should also be laid on the floor, and on them, for example, wormwood with a layer of 3-4 cm should be placed. Wormwood repels mice coolly, and they do not touch it all winter.
If there is no bunker, then carrots can also be stored in the basement, but in fresh wooden boxes covered with sawdust and covered with plastic wrap so that it does not evaporate excess moisture, because the basement is usually warm.
It is advisable to dig it until the temperature drops to negative values and before the heavy rainfall season. As for the calendar period, it usually falls in mid-September and lasts until mid-October. Dig out the beets on a fine sunny day, when the soil is dry and devoid of excess moisture.
In no case do not dig beets earlier than the specified time. The thing is that from about the end of August to the beginning of September, the maximum amount of sugar and other important useful elements accumulate in the beet pulp.
The signal for digging beets is usually small tubercles, if you look closely, they are clearly visible. The tubercles are located on the very surface of root crops (this is a sign that it is time to dig out).
In addition, of course, you need to monitor the weather forecast, pay attention to the leaf blades: on them, as on root crops, growths also appear - this is a clear sign that the beets have ripened. You should also add one vegetable and examine it from all sides, it is also easy to understand whether the beets are ripe or not.
The optimal period (we briefly indicated this above) is an autumn day with positive temperature and dry soil - this is the weather designed specifically for digging beets.
To dig out beetroot, in my opinion, is more convenient with a pitchfork: there is less damage on root crops. Immediately after digging, remove the tops from the root crop so that it does not dry, leaving only a centimeter long stump (do not tear the tops off with your hands, as you can damage the root crop itself), and then spread the root crops in the sun to dry for several hours.
Important! The root crops of beetroot, which are to be stored, can not be washed in any case. Instead, carefully inspect each, as is the case with carrots, and leave only those root crops that are undamaged and at least look completely healthy for storage.
So, spread the table beets, which you carefully sorted and cleaned from the soil, with a glove and not a scraper, in any dry room where there is good ventilation and there is no direct sunlight that would fall on the beets. In such a room, beets should lie for 6-7 days, so the root crops will completely dry out and be ready for storage. After this, root crops can be safely transferred to any store for wintering.
You can store beets, like carrots, in a cellar or cellar, ideally there the temperature should be from 0 to +2 degrees Celsius and humidity at 90%. If it is warmer, then the root crops can begin to fade rather quickly, rot and other diseases will develop, in general, the crop may be lost. Beetroot is especially sensitive to high temperature at the very beginning of storage, then even at +4 degrees Celsius its tops will begin to grow and for about a month it should be kept at a temperature of about one degree above zero and no more.
Be sure to pay attention to the air circulation in the store, this applies to the storage of carrots, and storage of beets. Ideally, the ventilation should be natural, and the bins where the beets are stored should be raised at least 5-10 cm above the floor so that the air passes there. Such a simple technique will constantly cool the root crops, prevent them from sweating and will not contribute to the formation of rot and other troubles.