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Where Are the Beets?


My city-slicker-turned-country-boy husband tilled the Spring soil, and I planted the garden. We had just moved from Washington, D.C. to rural Pennsylvania so we could raise our family in a more secure environment.

We saved a row for one of my husband’s favorite vegetables—red beets. But I had forgotten to buy beet seeds. I asked him to pick up a packet at the local garden supply store on his way home from work. Then, since it looked like it was going to rain, he volunteered to plant the seeds while I fixed dinner.

When I was a child, my family always had a huge garden. My siblings and I had done a lot of weeding, so I had no trouble telling our sprouting vegetables from sprouting weeds. I began looking for the red beets and, sure enough, soon found green leaves with red veins pushing through the soil. The leaves were lighter green than I remembered—perhaps he had bought a new variety.

A few weeks later, I pulled up one of the plants, but didn’t find a little beet. I reasoned that I’d pulled it too soon.

After several weeks of watching the beautiful glossy beet leaves grow, I pulled another one. Again, no beets. I went to the garden shed and looked for the seed packet my husband had bought—it was Swiss chard!

The next year, I bought the beet seeds.

This article was published originally in 2019, in GreenPrints Issue #117.


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