Beta vulgaris (60 days) Open-pollinated. Globular smooth uniform beets with tender oxblood-red flesh. “New varieties come and go, but the Detroit Dark Red, year after year maintains its popularity and holds its place right at the top of the list of good midseason varieties,” asserted Stark Bros. catalog in 1921. Introduced 1892 and still the standard late variety for home gardeners and canners. In catalog editor Elisabeth’s beet patch of four varieties, voles gobbled up all the Detroit Darks first—the ultimate taste test. Among the several strains of this century-old variety, this one with short tops had the best roots in our evaluation. ②③④
2182 Detroit Dark Red Short Top
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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!
Diseases: 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.