bacterial soft rot
For the first time EVER both our beets and chard wilted at the stems and literally dissolved into the ground. Searching online our best guess is bacterial soft rot -- we square foot garden and the blocks were at opposite ends of the garden and all our other vegetables seem fine. Beets and chard come from the same family. We dug all the diseased plants up and put into garbage bags (not compost) and got rid of it lock, stock and barrel. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
There is a disease called beet vascular necrosis caused by Pectobacterium which is also referred to as bacterial soft rot. This could possibly be the cause, however this disease can infect other vegetables so I wouldn't expect the beets and chard to be the only ones hit.
You may want to check the website of your local agricultural college or its extension service to see if they have a guide to beet diseases with pictures. The most common diseases vary by region.