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Are your beet roots bitter or stunted? This is not uncommon in coastal areas of B.C. where soil can be acidic. For beets, any reading under a pH of 6.5 is too sour. Sweeten the soil by working in plenty of dolomite lime during the early-winter months or at least two weeks before sowing.

Beets are also affected by a defiency of boron. Clues to this condition are a reddish to purple discolouration of the leaves and brown or black corky spots on the roots themselves. Fortify the soil and replace trace elements by mulching your garden with plenty of compost and planting a winter cover crop of rye and vetch. Happily, one variety, ‘Detroit Dark Red,’ is resistant to boron deficiency. It’s also sweet, tender and tasty – what more could a gardener want?