Beet Planting, Growing, and Harvesting

Beets are a garden mainstay, and you won’t have to wait long to harvest their delectable roots. You can eat their green tops as well, so they’re a two-fer! Learn everything there is to know about growing beets, from planting to harvesting.

Concerning Beets

Beets, sometimes known as “beet roots,” are a bright, cool-season crop that grows swiftly in full sun and is easy to raise from seed in well-prepared soil.

They are an excellent choice for northern gardeners due to their ability to withstand frost and near-freezing weather. This also makes them an excellent fall crop.

If you’re just starting out, seek for bolt-resistant types that have a lower probability of bolting (maturing too quickly) in warm conditions. Beets come in a variety of colours and forms, with roots that are deep red, yellow, white, or striped.

Beet roots can be picked when they are the size of a golf ball to a tennis ball; larger roots may be stiff and woody. Furthermore, beet greens have a pleasant and distinct flavour and contain even more nutrients than the roots!


Select a planting location that receives full sun. They should get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Beets prefer well-prepared, fertile soil but will grow in normal to low fertility soil. Soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0, but slightly alkaline (7.0+) soils can be tolerated. Acidic soils are not suitable for beets (pH below 6.0). Soil should be free of pebbles and other impediments to allow round beet roots to develop effectively.

Avoid planting beets in areas where Swiss chard or spinach has recently been grown, as they are beet cousins and are subject to the same pests and illnesses.

When Should You Plant Beets?

  • Begin planting beets in early April, as soon as the soil is workable. Plantings should be made every 2 to 3 weeks till mid-summer.
  • Summer plantings are possible as long as daytime temperatures do not exceed 75°F (24°C).
  • Germination takes 5 to 8 days in soil that is at least 50°F (10°C). Germination may take 2 to 3 weeks in soil that is cooler than that.
  • Tip: Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting to speed up germination or when planting in locations with little moisture and rainfall.
  • Sow beet seeds from mid-summer to early fall for a fall harvest, commencing 4 to 6 weeks before your first fall frost.
  • Winter crops are a real possibility in Zones 9 and up. For a winter harvest, plant beets in early to late fall.

How to Grow Beets

  • We prefer to seed beets immediately in the garden to avoid disturbing their roots. However, unlike many root crops, beets withstand being transplanted when they are young. Beets, on the other hand, can usually be started outside because they are cold resistant.
  • Sow seeds 12 inches deep and 1 to 2 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt after sowing.
  • To ensure optimal germination, keep the soil wet. Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting to hasten germination.


  • Because each wrinkled beet “seed” is actually a cluster of 2 to 4 seeds, thin the young plants to 3 to 4 inches apart after the greens are 4 to 5 inches tall. This allows their roots to mature to their full size.
  • When thinning, don’t pull up the plants since you can disrupt the roots of the beets you wish to maintain. Instead, simply cut or pinch the greens off (and eat them).
  • Mulch, then water on a weekly basis with roughly 1 inch of water per square foot. Beets require a lot of moisture in order to grow well.
  • Weed as needed, but be gentle with immature plants; beet roots are shallow and readily disturbed.
  • Covering beets with a row cover can help keep pests like leaf miners away from the plants’ leaves.
  • It is rarely necessary to add more fertiliser. If you do fertilise, go easy on the nitrogen; too much nitrogen will result in a profusion of greens but little bulbs beneath the soil.


  • For most types, the days to maturity range between 55 and 70. In other words, beets should be harvested roughly 2 months after sowing.
  • Harvest roots when they are the size of a golf ball or larger; very large roots may be stiff and woody.
  • Loosen the soil surrounding the beet and pull it out gently.
  • Harvest the beet greens at practically any time of year, beginning with seedling thinning. Take one or two mature leaves per plant until the leaf blades reach 6 inches in height and become tough. (Because roots cannot fully form without greens, some greens must be left for healthy development.)

How to Keep Beets

  • Fresh beets can be kept in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.Cutting the tops off beets keeps them fresher for longer. Leave about 1 inch of stem on each beet and separate the greens.
  • Brush off any soil sticking to the roots before burying them in layers (but not touching) enclosed by dry sand or sawdust for long-term root cellar storage.
  • Keep it in a cold, dry location. Put them in an unheated closet or a cooler in your basement. Learn more about a novel method of storing beets in the root cellar.
  • Sprouting is an indication of inadequate storage, which leads to degradation.
  • Beets can also be frozen, canned, and pickled!

Wisdom and wit

Beets have long been thought to be an aphrodisiac:

  • The ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite, their goddess of love, used them to increase her attractiveness.
  • The Romans believed that beet juice induced romantic sentiments.

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