Crosby's Egyptian Beet
55 days. Crosby’s Egyptian flat beet is an antique market variety developed in the 19th century and is still favored by farmers and market gardeners today.
The unusual name stirs intrigue, as beets are historically considered a crop of the European sea coast. The earthy roots are not typically associated with Egypt. In fact, this is not a true Egyptian variety! This misnomer is most likely thanks to the “Egyptomania” that swept Europe and America during the 19th century. Napoleon’s famous Egyptian campaign sparked western interest in Egypt, influencing 1800s art, religion and even the false-marketing of some goods as “Egyptian.” For example, the 1888 edition of J.H. Gregory’s seed catalog features Egyptian beets, as well as Egyptian sweet corn. This old European variety was likely named Egyptian beet to add exotic flare to its description. The “Egyptian beet” was actually a German variety introduced to the U.S. in the 1860s.
This superior market strain was selected by Boston-based market farmer Josiah Crosby. The Gregory’s catalog describes Crosby as one of the most noted of the market gardeners near Boston. Crosby refined the German import for his marketing needs. He selected for a super flat saucer shape and smoother skin, as these uniform and decidedly pretty roots were more enticing for market sales. Crosby’s Egyptian beet debuted in the 1888 edition of Gregory’s catalog and was praised for its exceptional early maturity and superior market quality. Crosby’s 19th century work selecting for a perfect market variety is still appreciated by market farmers and home gardeners today.
This perfect fall storage beet is earlier to mature than other storage varietie. A perfect late summer-sown beet to fill the winter pantry.
- 55 Days
- Full Sun
- Sprouts in 14-21 Days
- Seed Depth: 1/2"
- Ideal Temperature: 50-85 F
- Plant Spacing: 4-6"
- Frost Hardy: Yes
- Beta vulgaris
Growing Tips: Amend planting site with well-rotted compost, work soil deeply, and remove rocks. Sow 3-4 weeks before last frost. Thin early for best results. Requires neutral to slightly alkaline soil.