Brandywinegirl
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Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I have read that while beets are growing, once the leaves are 6 inches, its okay to cut them even if the beets are not ready to harvest. This is my first time growing them. What are your thoughts?
Thanks!
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gumbo2176
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I've harvested beet greens to eat in salads but I only take one or two from each plant and do so with several plants. I never totally cut all the greens from one plant to use.

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jal_ut
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I am with Gumbo. Take a leaf or two from each plant, but never all, unless I just pull the whole plant and eat the root along with the greens. I will usually do that to thin them so the remainder will have room to make a big root. The thing with beets, that crinkly little thing we call a seed is actually a capsule with several seeds in it, so beets are always crowded.

You know beets and chard are actually the same species? Grow either one or both just for the greens if you wish. Or mix them up in the pot. My theory? Plant plenty. :)
Last edited by jal_ut on Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hendi_alex
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

The greens are probably better in one's diet that the beets themselves. If in my garden, I would be willing to compromise a bit of beet size in order to enjoy a few meals which include the greens.
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Brandywinegirl
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Thanks so much! This was my first year growing beets and didn't grow enough to pick the leaves yet if I can't cut them ll. I will be patient and wait... :)
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jal_ut
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Your post prompted me to go plant another row of beets today. If nothing else, I should get some good greens. My early crop of beets came close to total failure. Chard did not do well this year either. It has been a goofy season.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Brandywinegirl
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

So sorry to hear about your beets!! My chard always gets hit by leafminers, but I love it, so I grow it anyway. My beets greens are getting hit a bit by them too! Hope your new crop does better. :)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Nothing ever bothers my chard. Lambsquarters, velvetleaf, and columbine are good trap crops for them. If you have (one or more of) those in your garden, the leafminers probably won't bother your food crops.
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brinboise
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

It was a tough year for my beets, weather mostly. I enjoy beet greens and especially when I harvest them with a small beet attached :D I can hardly leave them alone long enough to mature to a full size beet.

Artemesia
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I never eat beet greens. They are astoundingly high in oxalates which can bind calcium.
Too much oxalate is actually toxic.

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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I and my first beet green the other night it was great!! I have to make them a staple in my garden!!!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

One cup of beet greens has just 39 calories and no fat but contains 220 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin A and 60 percent of your RDI of vitamin C. The leaves are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants,

Beets, chard, spinach, collards, parsley and other of the really good for you, high in anti oxidant foods like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, are high in oxalates. Unless you have kidney stones or gout or some rare health conditions ( e.g. absorptive hypercalciuria) that is not a reason to avoid them.

"Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. In chemical terms, oxalates belong to a group of molecules called organic acids, and are routinely made by plants, animals, and humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates. "

Even in people with calcium oxalate stones. "It is not clear from the research, however, that restriction of dietary oxalate helps prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones in individuals who have previously formed such stones. Since intake of dietary oxalate accounts for only 10-15% of the oxalate that is found in the urine of individuals who form calcium oxalate stones, many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot significantly reduce risk of stone formation. ...

intake of protein, calcium, and water influence calcium oxalate stone formation as much as, or more than intake of oxalate. Finally, some foods that have traditionally been assumed to increase stone formation because of their oxalate content (like black tea) actually appear in more recent research to have a preventive effect.

https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=48

everyone has to figure out this kind of stuff and what is important about diet for themselves, I just don't want people to get scared off of eating some of the world's most nutritious foods unnecessarily.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Interesting, Artemisia... You and I had this same conversation before. I remembered having done a post on oxalates and looked back at it and realized it was in response to you back then as well.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... p?p=283303

that was six months ago.

I looked in to oxalate toxicity as well as I could on line and did not find any references to anything except the gout and possible kidney stones connection and calcium absorbing diseases.

I specifically tried to find something to confirm your suggestion that oxalates weaken bones and found this:

"Vitamin K, which is found mainly in green, leafy vegetables, likely plays one or more important roles in calcium regulation and bone formation. Low levels of circulating vitamin K have been linked with low bone density, and supplementation with vitamin K shows improvements in biochemical measures of bone health ...

Among the nurses, eating a serving of lettuce or other green, leafy vegetable a day cut the risk of hip fracture in half when compared with eating one serving a week. Data from the Framingham Heart Study also shows an association between high vitamin K intake and reduced risk of hip fracture in men and women, and increased bone mineral density in women. (10, 11) Getting one or more servings per day of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dark green lettuce, collard greens, or kale should be enough to meet the daily recommended target of 120 micrograms per day for men and 90 micrograms per day for women."
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionso ... ull-story/
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brinboise
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Artemesia wrote:I never eat beet greens. They are astoundingly high in oxalates which can bind calcium.
Too much oxalate is actually toxic.
I will take the risk, :? I can't give up my beet greens. To me the benefits outweigh that risk, if there is one.

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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

If there are studies showing the possible ill effects of consuming oxalates comparable to those rainbowgardener has cited showing the benefits, please cite them so that members can read both sides and make their own, informed decisions. :)

Now that I'm (shall we say?) over 40, I do watch what I eat more carefully than I did in college, but leafy greens are way up there on my own personal list: kale, broccoli (and its leaves, grown in my own garden), chard, rapini (aka broccoli raab/rabe), and the like. Spinach is too finicky to grow in my garden, and I simply haven't had any luck with beets--but it's not for lack of trying!

I personally would be interested in scientific studies showing the potential harm of eating "too many" leafy greens.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I'm 66... how old is "older" ? :)
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

rainbowgardener wrote:I'm 66... how old is "older" ? :)
HaHa...me too :()

Artemesia
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Here are just a few web sites that are informative.
There are many on the web which are so technical, I doubt most people will want to read them.
And there is a mountain of sites discussing cattle fatalities from eating high oxalate plants.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalate
https://www.westonaprice.org/food-featur ... -disorders
https://lowoxalateinfo.com/top-six-reaso ... f-oxalate/
https://oxvox.com/what-are-oxalates/
https://www.rhubarbinfo.com/poison
https://www.wakehealth.edu/Urology/Kidne ... -Foods.htm


Admittedly, there is some controversy as to just how much people are affected.
As someone who has been involved in public health all my life,
I see it occur at many different ages in life.
Some people never experience it.
But people should be informed it is a risk.
Once the damage is done, it is very difficult to undue.

Here is a post I put up earlier:

I use nutrient levels to help me decide which greens to eat.
I avoid greens that are high in oxalates since it binds calcium
and can weaken bones.
Plus oxalates are toxic.
It has been known for a long time that poke and rhubarb greens are toxic
unless the cooking water is discarded several times.
Here are the ones I avoid.

Average Oxalate Content
(mg/100 g)

Beet greens 916
Purslane 910
Rhubarb 860
Spinach 750
Chard 660
Poke greens 476

These are the ones I eat:

Dandelion greens 246
Okra 146
Kale 125
Turnip greens 110
Collard greens 74

Beet root is not as bad as the greens so I eat small of amounts of it too.

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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

This is a very timely thread for me, since I just ordered beet seeds for a fall crop. This'll be the first time I've ever tried growing them. We used to eat them a lot growing up (us Poles seem to have a thing for beets!), but it's been a while since I've had them. My wife has been wanting to grow them, too, so it's perfect timing!

I didn't know anything about beet greens before, but I now realize that they're in the organic salad mixes we get at the store. So along with the spinach two lettuces I'l be growing, we should (hopefully) have a good "salad crop" come fall.

And since I won't be eating beet greens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I won't worry too much about oxalate overload. :wink: Everything in moderation!

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jal_ut
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

I reckon too much of any food we eat may be harmful. Why do you suppose it is always recommended, " Eat a balanced diet." ?
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grrlgeek
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Re: Beet Greens: To Cut, or Not to Cut?

Artemesia wrote:Too much [....] is actually toxic.
Too much water can be toxic, too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

I think the takeaway is that few people will consume too much of any one thing, including beet greens, to create a toxic effect. Study after study, and common sense, tells us that a balanced diet of a wide variety of foods is not only not toxic, it's exactly what our bodies need to stay healthy. Just sayin'
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