'Fordhook Giant' is an old favorite with its broad, strong stems and large leaves packed with vitamins and minerals. A vigorous grower with a long growing season, it will provide fresh greens from early summer into fall, and year-round in mild climates. White stem varieties are generally more bolt and cold tolerant and more productive than colored stem varieties. Young leaves are great for salads. Glows in containers as an ornamental.
Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Days to Maturity: 50–60 days
Native: Mediterranean region, Europe
Hardiness: Biennial; fairly cold tolerant. Will overwinter in mild climates and withstand light to moderate freezes.
Plant Dimensions: Up to 24″ tall
Variety Information: Large, glossy, dark green, deeply crumpled leaves with broad white petioles (leafstalks).
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is at least 40°F, ideally 75°–90°F. Sow as late as 2 months before first fall frost. Mild Climates: Sow in fall.
When to Start Inside: 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting out, 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date (protect from heavy freezes).
Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
Seed Depth: ½”
Seed Spacing: A group of 2–3 seeds every 6″–8″
Row Spacing: 18″
Thinning: When ½” tall, thin to 1 every 8″
Harvesting: Pick up to 1/3 of the outer leaves as needed, and let more leaves grow from the center of the plant; or, if desired, harvest the whole plant 2″ above ground, and it will grow back. Pick very young leaves, at 2″-4″ for using fresh in salads.
This packet sows up to 46 feet. 140 seeds.