I have a beet plant that I grew from seeds. They started off great and healthy. In fact I plucked some leaves to use in a salad. After that some of the leaves are turning yellow and drying up. What could possibly be the reason?
plant #1 plant #2

  • How dry is the ground? May 28 '16 at 3:58
  • Not dry at all. Drip is on every other day and the weather has been moderate.
    – JStorage
    May 28 '16 at 4:00
  • How many beets do you have? Can you put a spade into the soil to see if your watering schedule is adequate? May 28 '16 at 4:34
  • You mean beet plants or beets per plant?
    – JStorage
    May 28 '16 at 4:35
  • Huh? Is there a difference? Anyway, how many plants do you have, and is it happening to all or just one? Can you dig one up to see if there's an issue? Or just dig into the soil? May 28 '16 at 4:37

Beets are relatively unharmed by bugs and disease. It could be linked with overwatering them: they grow too quick for the available minerals.

From the research I did, this is called Brown beets problem.

SOLUTION: add Boron

The only problem they have is a lack of boron. Buy some Borax and dust it over the soil. (Borax kills fungus; is to be found in the laundry section)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming states that soluble boron is allowed in organic cultures (ref.: Gillman J. (2008). The Truth About Organic Farming).


The pictures show that there is not enough water. You can see cracks in the soil all near the plant.

10 minutes a day 3 times a week is not enough on a dripper system. Most drippers are 0.5-2 Gallons per hour. That comes out to be about 1/6 of a gallon 3 times a week = 1/2 a gallon per week. That is a very sad amount of water. On top of that drippers work by slowly penetrating deep into the soil. That takes time. If you only water for 10 minutes you may never penetrate below 4-6 inches.

If you are so pressed for water, you can put a bucket underneath you when you shower and get more water per day than that for your plants (obviously move the bucket when you are rinsing off soap).

Just a complete ballpark but if it is very dry you probably need ~.5 gallons per day per plant. So about 30 minutes to an hour.

You can also add mulch around the plant, which helps a lot more than you would think (I use dried leftover grass).

You can tell when it is watered enough because the ground will not be all cracked near it. You can see deep fissures into the ground. Also the soil looks pretty hard, which makes it hard for plants to grow.

EDIT With some links and numbers:

According to [bonnie guide][https://bonnieplants.com/library/how-much-water-do-vegetables-need/]: "A good general guideline is an inch of water per week, either by rain or watering; in arid climates, it is double that. In hot weather, vegetables need even more water, up to about ½ inch per week extra for every 10 degrees that the average temperature is above 60 degrees."

Now, 2-inches per week (since it is arid), plus .5 assuming the avg temp is ~70deg = 2.5 inches per week.

And as a rule of thumb: An inch of water is about 60 gallons per 100 square feet. The beet plants roots cover around 2 square feet. So you need to provide 2.5 inches => 150 gallons per 100 square feet. Since you only have one dripper per plant, and each plant is ~ 2square feet (including roots), you need about 3 gallons per plant.

Depending on which dripper type you use, this is 1.5 hours (at 2 gallons/hour) to 6 hours (at .5 gallons/hour) of total drip time per week.

So the half hour you are giving it a week per plant is not enough.

  • I don't quite agree with you. And OP says soil isn't dry at all. On the contrary. Just remove sick leaves, the plants should be better so. Might go away alone.
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 21 '16 at 7:18
  • @J.Chomel: But, it is dry. He provided pictures showing it is dry. I don't have to guess or ask because I can see. On top of that he provided his watering schedule with is inadequate. Since this post is so old perhaps the OP could enlighten to us as to how the plants turned out on his meager watering schedule.
    – jbord39
    Sep 21 '16 at 13:49
  • I'm pretty sure though that this disease is due to over-watering and not from drought.
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 21 '16 at 15:02
  • @J.Chomel: Dude, do you see the picture? The ground literally has FISSURES in it that go inches deep. Utterly ridiculous to claim the problem is OVERWATERING when he gives his watering schedule.
    – jbord39
    Sep 21 '16 at 15:57
  • 1
    It could be a very shallow fissure. They can appear in just one day if below soil drains fast. And "Not dry at all" says JStorage in its comment! I'm pretty sure the disease we see isn't due to drought because the leaves look upward. If the plants where thirsty, leaves would look down.
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 21 '16 at 16:22

Leaf miners for sure, 100%. If you feed your beets well with good quality fertilizer they can outgrow miners and have an awesome crop still, of both leaves and roots. Liquid seaweed, compost tea, a good all purpose fertilizer, ect or any combo of the above can work.

  • Good answer; if could also include the specific nutrient mixes, amounts, frequency, and combination blend suggestions, that could also be helpful. Thank you. Welcome to the site!
    – M H
    Aug 9 '20 at 19:23

Those beets look like they have a bad infestation of leaf miners. They look exactly like the beets I have unsuccessfully tried to grow in my backyard for several years, and which always become riddled with leaf miners. Those beets do not appear to me to be water-stressed at all.

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