Hi, I have a large organic garden. This year I grew two rows of beets. While...

Asked August 12, 2014, 12:57 AM EDT

Hi, I have a large organic garden. This year I grew two rows of beets. While weeding this past week I accidentally pulled a few of the beets and discovered that the beets had been eaten almost completely in half right below the soil line. I pulled all the beets in an effort to save what I had left and over 50% of the crop had been eaten. I didn't notice any insect activity or any burrowing marks so I'm wondering what has eaten all my beets and what can I do organically to prevent this problem next year. Thanks so much!

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Damage to beet roots is usually caused by either mammal feeding - like voles or mice - or by wire worms. Here are a couple of links that describe these pests, and includes information about control:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/vegetable/beet/rootholes.html
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advi...

Then there is the possibility of a disease problem:
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Beet_RootRot.htm

I hope you can find the culprit that is damaging your crop. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.