The Big Beet Experiement is nearly complete. Mr. Beet lasted all winter in the refrigerator and has been planted out in the garden. He was stored wrapped in two sheets of newspaper and stored in a plastic produce bag in the crisper. He emerged solid without evidence of rotting and even little baby sprouts shooting from the top. So, out to the garden he goes, planted so that the top is out of the soil, being careful to keep the roots straight, add a good bit of watering and wait to see what happens. The point of overwintering this beet and replanting him is to save seed.
This beet became a candidate for seed saving as a result of it's vigor in the garden, (it grew well and fast), and it's resistance to insect damage (when all the leaves on my other beets were ravaged, this one stood tall and undamaged!). Beets and other roots are biennial plants, in that they produce seeds the second year. So, Mr. Big Beet hopefully will flower and make seeds which I will collect to use in the future. The variety of this beet is called Detroit Dark Red, this beet variety is one on offer by Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. Seed Savers Exchange promotes heirloom, open pollinated varieties in an effort to maintain the genetic heritage and diversity of our food crops. They also work with heritage breeds of chickens, ducks, turkeys, cattle and apple breeds. The work they do helps to combat the monopolization of our food system by companies who seek to patent genetic material and control the food chain from "birth" to plate. Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit and do tremendous work on behalf of anyone who eats! (http://www.seedsavers.org/)