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How to Grow Beets

Three Parts:Getting Ready to PlantPlanting and Caring for BeetsHarvesting and Storing Beets

Growing a patch of jewel-toned red and gold beets is something every new vegetable gardener should try. Beets thrive in most growing regions and can be planted twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Each part of the plant is edible and nutritious. See Step 1 to learn the easy process of growing these little gems!

Part 1
Getting Ready to Plant

  1. Image titled Grow Beets Step 1
    Choose beet varieties to plant. There are many different varieties of beets and each has a different growing season. Check the number of days it takes the beets to mature, and choose the best one for growing in your area. When you've picked out a variety, purchase a few packages of the seeds of your choice. It's much easier to grow beets from seed, since they don't transplant well.
    • Detroit Dark Red beets are the classic blood-red color, perfect for roasting or boiling.
    • Burpee Golden beets have a buttery, delicate flavor and look beautiful in salads. Golden beet seeds are a bit finicky, so be sure to get plenty of extras in case some don't germinate.
    • Chioggia beets have red and white circles inside when you slice them open.
    • Early Wonder Tall Top beets are a good variety to choose if you're growing the beets primarily for the greens, rather than the roots.[1]
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    Prepare to plant in spring and fall. Plant beets either in the spring or the fall when the weather is cool and the soil temperature is around 50 °F (10 °C). Beets can usually handle a frost or two (though they shouldn't be exposed to extremely cold weather) but they do not grow well in hot weather - it causes the roots to be tough.
    • To avoid a lot of frost, plant beets just after the last frost of the year in the spring. In the fall, plant when the weather has cooled off such that it's regularly below 75 °F (24 °C). Allow at least a month between your last planting and the start of cold, frosty temperatures.
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    Ready the planting bed or pot. Beets don't need a lot of room to grow, so you can plant them either in a small patch or in a pot. If you're planting beets in the ground, prepare the garden soil with a garden tiller to a depth of 12 inches (30.5 cm). The soil needs to be free of rocks to help the root to form properly. Add compost and organic matter to the soil to enrich it. The best soil is loose and sandy, with a pH between 6.2 and 7.0.[2]
    • Choose a spot that gets full sunlight; beets won't grow as well in partial shade.
    • Beet roots develop best when they have plenty of potassium. You can add bonemeal to the soil to provide extra potassium if your soil isn't particularly rich.
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    Plan to plant beets with other vegetables. Beets don't take up much space in a garden, so they get along well with other cool-season vegetables. In fact, radishes are planted and harvested earlier in the season than beets, so planting them in your prepared beet bed is a good way to get the soil ready for beets. You can also include beets along with onions, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and bush beans in your garden.
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    Soak the seeds. Beet seeds are a little tough, so it's a good idea to soak them to soften the shells so they'll be able to germinate more easily. Place your beet seeds in a bowl and pour some warm water over them. Let them soak overnight before planting. Be sure to plant them the next day after soaking.

Part 2
Planting and Caring for Beets

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    Sow the seeds in a row. Use a garden hoe to form a row in the garden, and water it well before planting. Sow the seeds along the row, planting them about 12 inch (1.3 cm) deep and 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) apart. Put a cluster of seeds at each spot in the row; several seedlings will probably sprout, but having a few seeds will give you backup if some of the seeds don't germinate. Additional rows should be planted 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.7 cm) apart.
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    Keep the row constantly moist. Water the seeds well; they will germinate after 3 to 5 days if they're kept constantly moist. To prevent them from drying out, you can lay a piece of burlap over the rows for the first few days after planting; just water the burlap directly. Remove it when you see the seedlings begin to sprout.
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    Thin the seedlings. Thin seedlings to 3 inches (7.6 cm) apart when they are about 3 inches (7.6 cm) tall. Beets need this room to develop their roots.
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    Maintain the seedlings. Keep the beets watered as they grow, and be sure to weed out all grass and weeds. If you see that the beet roots are exposed above the soil, cover them with a light layer of mulch.
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    Plant more beets. Stagger your beet planting about every 2 to 3 weeks if you want to have beets to harvest over a period of time. Otherwise, all of your beets and beet tops will be ready for harvesting at the same time.You can do this in either the spring or the fall.

Part 3
Harvesting and Storing Beets

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    Harvest the greens early. Beet greens are best when they're tender and small, no more than 4 or 5 inches (10.2 or 12.7 cm) tall. They can be harvested once they reach about 2 or 3 inches (5.1 or 7.6 cm) tall. Use a scissors to clip away the greens. Be sure to leave some leaves over the roots so they'll continue growing.
    • Beet greens don't keep for long in the refrigerator. It's best to eat them either the same day you cut them or just one or two days later.
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    Harvest the roots later. They're ready to be harvested when they are 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in diameter. Pull the beets gently from the soil or dig them out. Leave about an inch of leaves of the top so that the root stays intact and lasts longer in storage. Wash the dirt from the beets with cool water, taking care not to bruise them.
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    Store the beets. They'll keep in the cellar or the refrigerator for several months. When you're ready to use them, prepare your beets by roasting or boiling them. Try one of these delicious recipes:
    • Borscht - a classic beet soup that tastes delicious in winter.
    • Beet gratin - a healthy spin on comfort food.
    • Beet salad - this light, summery dish is extremely nutritious.


  • Beets make a good addition to a child's garden. They are easy to grow and fun to harvest.

Things You'll Need

  • Beet seed
  • Water
  • Garden hoe
  • Garden tiller
  • Compost

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables