Beet roots and greens can be eaten raw, steamed, braised, or stir-fried.
- Sauté beets for five minutes then steam for five more minutes; combine with onion, cabbage greens, and carrots.
- Pair beets with fruit: combine sliced steamed beets with chopped apples, toasted walnuts, and fresh greens.
- Add fresh-cooked, pureed beets to chocolate cake batter for an extra-moist treat.
When to plant beets
Grow beets to harvest in cool but not cold weather. Beets grow best when the days are warm (60° to 70°F) and nights are cool (50° to 60°F).
- In cold winter regions, plant beets in the garden in early spring or late summer for harvest when temperatures are in the 50°s and 60s°F
- In mild-winter regions where temperatures do not drop below 50°F for extended periods, plant beets in the garden in fall for winter harvest.
- Under cover in winter—where temperatures drop below 50°F during the day, grow beets under a plastic tunnel or in a cold frame.
Beet varieties for the garden
Beet varieties well-suited for backyard gardens include red beets, white beets, golden beets, and red-and-white striped beets Choose also from beets with tasty greens, baby beets, and beets the size of a baseball. Here are recommended best beets for backyard growing:
- Albina Vereduna: 50 to 60 days to harvest; pure white Dutch heirloom; has twice as much sugar as red beets.
- Baby Ball: 50 days to harvest; round, petite crimson root; subtle sweet flavor, tasty greens; harvest small.
- Bull’s Blood: 50 to 60 days to harvest, pick greens in 35 days; heirloom, dark maroon-red leaves; flavorful roots; very cold hardy.
- Chioggia: 55-65 days to harvest; Italian heirloom dates to 1880; natural red-and-white-striped flesh; sweet-flavored roots; flavorful leaves; steam lightly to avoid bleeding.
- Detroit Dark Red: 60 to 65 days to harvest; heirloom dating from 1892; sweet roots and tasty greens; use fresh or can.
- Early Wonder Tall Top: 50 to 60 days to harvest; maroon-tinged leaves, purplish-red, flattop roots; excellent for cooking.
- Golden Beet: 50 to 60 days to harvest; bright yellow flesh, sweet-potato-like flavor; not as productive as red varieties.
- Kestrel: 50 to 55 days to harvest; dark red baby beet; harvest small; bolt resistant.
- Lutz Greenleaf (also called Winterkeeper): 70 days to harvest; heirloom; large tasty leaves, baseball-size roots are sweet and tender; stores well through winter.
- Red Ace: 50 to 60 days to harvest; rich flavored roots, tender greens; stores well; resists zoning (alternating red and white rings caused by excessive heat).
Beet harvest tips
Young beets can be harvested when 1 inch in diameter (small beets can be cooked stem and all). Larger beets can stay in the ground until just after the first hard frost. Beet greens can be used as early as the first thinning of the planting bed. Beets for storage should be kept in the refrigerator or a cool basement or root cellar. Also see How to Harvest and Store Beets.
Beet growing tips
Here are some quick tips for growing beets:
- Beets grow best in loamy, compost-rich soil (pH 6.0 to 7.5).
- Sow seed 1 inch deep and 3 to 4 inches apart; if you sow closer use the thinnings in salads.
- Feed beets with seaweed extract during the growing season; beets grow best with a bit of extra potassium.
- Mulch planting bed with aged compost, shredded leaves, or straw to make sure the soil stays evenly moist.
- Grow beets in containers at least 12 inches deep; do not let the soil go dry.
- Protect beets from leafminers and other insect pests by covering the planting bed with a light row cover.
More tips: How to Grow Beets