I had the chance to head out to Local Harvest Farm last week to check out the progress of their Golden Beet seed crop. We planted out the stecklings for this crop on March 19 and it has really been growing well ever since!
We had really good growth on most of the stecklings we planted, though I did notice some variation in growth. There were two things I noticed.
First, was the size difference in many of the plants. Here is a really healthy, vigorous beet plant:
But this one is not so grand!
The second thing I noticed was the difference in plant structure between many plants. It is hard to tell in this photo, but some of the plants have a single dominant stalk whereas others are more multi-branched and spread out. Is there a preferred structure here for a beet seed crop? And why?
So we may want to do another round of selection to remove plants which are not as effectively going to seed.
The first selection on this crop was for nice looking roots to go into storage – based on colour, shape, size, and other characteristics.
The second selection was when bringing them out of storage. Those that did not store well were removed. Also, any that had rough skin, off colours, or other undesirable looking traits were also removed.
So now we have the chance for a third selection, based more on the crops capacity for going to seed or for roquing out any plants which are showing other undesirable traits.
I am lucky enough to have a phone call schedule with John Navazio, head plant breeder with Johnny’s Selected Seeds, tomorrow so can get some input from him for a final selection.