Beets are a cool-weather crop. Sow beets in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Continue succession plantings every 3 weeks until temperatures reach 80°F.
Beets can again be planted in late summer or early autumn 6 to 8 weeks before the first average frost in autumn. Grow beets as a winter crop in mild-winter regions.
Beets require 45 to 65 days to reach harvest.
Description. Beets are biennial plants grown as annuals. They are grown for their swollen, bulb-shaped root and also for their leaves. Beetroots can be red, yellow, or white. A rosette of large leaves sprouts from the root.
Beets Yield. Plant 5 to 10 beets per household member.
Site. Grow beets in full sun or partial shade in warm regions. Plant beets in well-worked loose soil rich in organic matter. Be sure to remove all stones and clods from planting beds so as not to impede or split growing roots. Add aged compost to growing beds in advance of planting. Beets grow best where the soil pH is 6.0 to 6.8.
Beets Planting Time. Sow beets in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Continue succession plantings every 3 weeks until temperatures reach 80°F. Beets can again be planted in late summer or early autumn 6 to 8 weeks before the first average frost in autumn. Beets require 45 to 65 days to reach harvest. Beets can tolerate frost but will go to seed if temperatures are too cold. Grow beets as a winter crop in mild-winter regions. In hot weather, beetroots will become woody.
More details: Planting Beets.
Planting and Spacing Beets. Beets are grown from seed clusters about the size of a small pea. Each cluster contains several seeds. Sow seed clusters 1 inch deep and 1 inch apart; thin successful seedlings to 3 inches apart when seedlings are 3 inches tall. Space rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Add thinned seedlings to salads. Beets generally do not transplant well.
More tips: Beets Seed Starting Tips.
Companion plants. Onions, kohlrabi. Do not plant with pole beans and shading crops.
Container Growing Beets. Beets can be grown in containers. Thin seedlings to 4-inch centers.
Caring for Beets
Water and Feeding Beets. Keep beets evenly watered. Do not let the soil dry out. Lack of water will cause roots to become stunted, stringy, and tough. Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of seeding. Side dress beets with compost at midseason.
Beet Care. Keep planting beds weed-free to avoid competition for water and nutrients. Thin beets as soon as they are about 3 inches tall to avoid crowding which can hinder root growth
Beet Pests. Beets have no serious pest problems. Check roots for boring insects. Leafminers can tunnel inside the leaf surface leaving gray streaks.
Beet Diseases. Beets have no serious disease problems.
Beet pests and disease help: Beet Growing Problems: Troubleshooting.
Harvesting and Storing Beets
Beet Harvest. Beets will reach harvestable size–1 to 3 inches in diameter–40 to 80 days after sowing. Lift beets gently. Twist the leaves off rather than cutting them off to prevent juices from bleeding.
Storing and Preserving Beets. Beets will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 weeks. Beet greens will keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 1 week. Beets will keep for 1 to 3 months in damp sawdust in a cold, moist place. Beets can be frozen and dried.
More harvest tips: How to Harvest and Store Beets.
Beet Varieties to Grow
Beet Varieties. ‘Detroit Dark Red’ (52 days); ‘Early Wonder’ (53 days); ‘Burpee’s Golden’ (55 days); ‘Bulls’s Blood’ (50 days); ‘Ruby Queen’ (56 days); ‘Little Ball’ (56 days); ‘Cylindra’, also called ‘Formanova’ or ‘Tendersweet’ (60 days); ‘Long Season’ also called ‘Winter Keeper’ (80 days).
Common name. Beets, beet greens, beetroot
Botanical name. Beta vulgaris
Origin. Southern Europe
More tips: How to Harvest and Store Beets.