How to grow beets?

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.

Planting Beets

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.

Space beets so that roots have plenty of room to mature.

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

Common name. Beets, beet greens, beetroot

Botanical name. Beta vulgaris

Origin. Southern Europe

More tips: How to Harvest and Store Beets.

Grow 80 vegetables:THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE

Growing Beets in Sacramento

Home ” Fair Oaks Horticulture Center ” Vegetables ” Beets

Beets are nutritious and easy to grow. They are biennials that are grown as annuals, and they are primarily grown for their roots, which are most often dark red and globe shaped. Some varieties are tubular in shape, and some are golden yellow, white, or have concentric rings of red and white that look like a bulls-eye when sliced. The beet tops, when young, may also be harvested for greens which are excellent in salads, and older foliage can be cooked.

European natives, beets are known botanically as Beta vulgaris; they are in the Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot) Family, which also includes chard and spinach, so avoid following these crops in rotation. Rotating crops in the garden can be effective against insect and disease pests that develop on crops of the same family, so moving crops to different sites isolates such pests from their food source. Additionally, plants in the same family can deplete the same nutrients from the soil. If possible, avoid growing beets, chard, or spinach in the same spot year after year.

Being a cool-season crop, beets grow best in the cool temperatures of spring and fall; however, if they are planted too late in the fall (see Planting section below for optimum planting dates), they often will not grow to full size before the cold weather slows their growth. If temperatures are high when the crop is maturing, some color loss and zoning (internal development of white circles) occur. Low temperatures (below 50°F) for 2-3 weeks after they have formed several true leaves may cause flower stalks to develop prematurely before plant roots mature, although many newer varieties are less sensitive to this problem.

Soil Conditions

Beets grow best in a sunny position in light, well-drained soils. Add organic matter (such as compost, well-rotted manures, composted pesticide-free lawn clippings, and composted leaves) to clay soils to improve soil structure and to help avoid surface crusting after rainfall. For poorly drained sites, consider growing beets in raised beds. When preparing the planting bed, be sure to remove stones and debris since they may hinder growth. Beets prefer soil with pH between 6.5 and 7, and their growth is stunted in very acid (low pH) soil. They are also sensitive to soils deficient in boron. It is a good idea to have the soil tested every few years to determine the soil pH and if any nutrients are deficient. This is particularly important if you are establishing a new vegetable bed. Apply a fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and phosphorus prior to planting. Work the fertilizer into the soil as the seedbed is being prepared. For additional information on soil preparation, see “Vegetable Garden Basics” (ANR Publication 8059) available at www.anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu.

Planting

Beets are usually direct seeded (sown in the garden) rather than started indoors and transplanted into the garden. They may be planted late February to early April for harvest in the late spring, or mid-August to early October for harvest in fall to early winter. Successive plantings every 7–10 days during planting season will provide a continuous harvest over a longer period. Optimal soil temperatures for beet germination are 50° to 86°F, and the maximum soil temperature for germination is 95°F.

To encourage rapid germination, place the seeds in a sieve and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water before sowing. This removes chemicals that inhibit germination. Immediately sow the seeds thinly (1-2 inches apart) at a depth of ½ inch in rows at least 12 inches apart to facilitate walking, weeding, and harvesting between the rows. If, however, raised beds or intensive gardening in blocks are being used, then row spacing may be reduced to 6 inches. Alternatively, seed may also be “station sown” which involves placing 2 seeds every 3-4 inches in rows either 6 inches apart (raised beds or intensive/block gardening) or 12 inches apart (standard row spacing) as stated above. Station sowing economizes the seed and makes thinning easier. Provided thinning is done to the final spacing in a timely manner (see Thinning below), station sowing and intensive/block methods provide a much higher yield for a given area of ground. Cover the seeds lightly with sand, compost, or soil; sprinkle lightly with water. Plant extra seeds of the golden beets as they germinate poorly.

To help keep the soil moist for better germination, place floating row cover (a very lightweight spun bonded polyester or polypropylene fabric) or burlap over the soil and keep the fabric moist until the seedlings emerge, typically 5-14 days, but may take longer depending on soil temperature and moisture, weather conditions, and variety of beets grown. Keep the floating row cover loosely draped over the plants or supported by hoops to discourage insects early in the season. If the row cover is laid directly on the soil, do not stretch the material tight. Leave some slack in the center to allow for expansion as the plants develop. As the crop grows, it will push the cover up. Mound soil over the edges of the fabric to keep the cover in place, or insert fabric pegs or staples through the fabric and into the soil. If the row cover is supported by hoops, stretch the cover tightly over the hoops and bury the edges well to keep the fabric secure during windy days and to discourage insects.

Thinning

A common problem when growing beets is not adequately thinning the plants. Proper spacing is essential for a quality crop. Beet seeds have a different structure from other garden seeds. Each seed is actually a group of flowers that are fused together by the flower petals. This forms a multi-germ cluster which usually contains 2-5 seeds (note: some mono-germ varieties have only one seed per fruit.). Because several plants can germinate from one seed, thinning the seedlings in a timely manner is important. Thinning is best done in a couple of stages: (1) When the seedlings are 1-2 inches tall, start removing the smaller, weaker seedlings and leave the stronger, more vigorous plants. Cut, rather than pull, plants when thinning to avoid disturbing roots of other plants. (2) By the time the plants are 3-4 inches tall, thin again so that the plants should be at their final spacing of approximately 4 inches. The thinned plants can be used as greens. Any mechanical cultivation should be very shallow or the beet roots may be damaged.

Maintenance and Care

In order to obtain the highest quality, beets must make continuous growth. Beets require consistent moisture, so water deeply and thoroughly and do not let the soil become dry. Supplemental water may be necessary during dry spells. Underwatering will cause the outer leaves to turn yellow and the roots to become woody; however, overwatering can cause beet leaves to turn red and the plants to stop growing for a time. To conserve moisture and keep the soil from crusting, apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch (such as straw, leaves, compost, or pesticide-free grass clippings) after the plants are well established.

Keep the rows well weeded, and spray the growing plants once or twice with a foliar, seaweed-based fertilizer to help boost nitrogen, manganese, and boron levels. Fertilize mid-season with a balanced organic fertilizer and water evenly. Too much nitrogen fertilizer will encourage top growth at the expense of root development.

Harvesting and Storage

Harvest begins about 45-65 days from seed sowing. Begin harvesting when the roots are at least 1 inch wide, harvesting alternate plants to allow remaining plants to grow up to 3 inches wide. Beets tend to get tough if left to grow any larger. To avoid damaging the roots, use a spading fork to gently lift the roots. Pull out the entire plant while it is still young, tender, and flavorful. Beets are fairly frost tolerant, and fall plantings can be stored in the ground over winter if well mulched, but they should be harvested before the soil starts to warm up, usually around mid-February. Once the soil begins to warm, the plant’s energy goes from root growth to seed development. Beet roots will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reduce bleeding when cooking, leave 1 inch of the leaf stalk attached to the root and do not cut the root at all until after it is cooked. Harvest beet greens as you thin the seedlings and continue until the greens are too tough. The leaves are prepared the same as fresh spinach.

Saving Seeds

Beets are biennial, which means they grow the first season when they are generally harvested, and if left in the ground over the winter, will send up a flower stalk that produces seeds the following year. Beets are wind pollinated and will cross-pollinate. The pollen is light and can travel great distances; therefore, varieties must be separated by at least 2 miles the second year when going to seed to ensure absolute seed purity. Harvest seed heads when they are completely dry. If seeds are kept in a cool, dry location, they should be viable for about 4 years. In home gardens, a bagging technique can be used to prevent cross-pollination; however, it may be more practical to purchase new seed. For more information about saving beet seeds, see Suzanne Ashworth’s book “Seed to Seed – Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners” (see reference on page 4).

‘Albino’, ‘Chioggia’ and ‘Golden’ beets
Varieties

The best beet varieties for the Sacramento area are those with a short number of days from seed sowing to maturity (generally those with 60 days or less as listed on the seed packet). Sacramento County Master Gardeners have had success with the following varieties of beets: ‘Egyptian Turnip Root’, ‘Ruby Queen’, ‘Red Sangria’, ‘Detroit Dark Red’, ‘Golden’ (yellow), ‘Chioggia’ (red and white concentric rings when cut), and ‘Albino’ (white).

Diseases and Pests

The following table describes common beet diseases, pests, and other problems. For additional integrated pest management techniques, see “Pests of the Garden and Small Farm” (ANR Publication 3332) available at anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu, or check out UC IPM Online (Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program) at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu. Before using a pesticide, read the label, and always follow cautions, warnings, and directions.

Problem

Probable Cause

Small, circular spots with light centers and dark borders on leaves.

Cercospora leaf spot (a fungal disease). Pick off and destroy affected leaves.

Cracked roots and black areas on surface and inside roots. Stunted plants.

Boron deficiency. Test soil; maintain pH between 6.5 and 7. Apply micronutrients.

Leaf margins rolled upward; brittle leaves puckered along veins. Stunted plants.

Curly top virus (spread by leafhoppers). Control leafhoppers that spread the virus by controlling weeds around the garden.

Misshapen roots.

Overcrowding; lumpy, heavy clay soil. Thin beets early. Add organic amendments (see Soil Conditions on page 1.)

Cracked roots.

Inadequate watering. Maintain adequate soil moisture.

Small holes on leaves.

Flea beetle. Control weeds. Protect young plants with floating row cover or other protective cloths. Older plants are less likely to suffer damage.

Hard, woody beets.

Overmaturity; drought. Harvest at proper time. Water consistently.

Tunnels in leaves.

Leafminers. Cover plants with floating row cover. Remove infested (mined) leaves.

Leaves webbed together; eggs in rows on undersides of leaves.

Beet webworms. Clip off webbed leaves. Destroy caterpillars. Control weeds.

Plants stunted and wilted. Roots not well developed and have excessive fibrous roots. Warty swellings on fibrous roots and tap root.

Nematodes. Existing infestations may be reduced through crop rotation, fallowing, soil solarization, and by adjusting planting dates (plant when soil temperatures are below 65°F).

For Additional Information:

  • The California Master Gardener Handbook, 2002, ANR Publication 3382
  • Vegetable Garden Basics, 2002, ANR Publication 8059
  • Beet and Swiss Chard Production in California, 2003, ANR Publication 8096
  • Savoring Home Grown, Sacramento County UC Master Gardeners 2009 Gardening Guide and Calendar
  • Sunset Western Garden Book, 2007, Sunset Publishing Corporation
  • Western Garden Book of Edibles, 2010, Sunset Publishing Corporation
  • The Edible Garden, 2005, Sunset Publishing Corporation
  • Plant Propagation, American Horticultural Society, 1999, DK Publishing Inc.
  • Seed to Seed – Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, (Suzanne Ashworth) 2002, Seed Savers Exchange, Inc.

Websites:

  • (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vegetable Garden Basics – Publication 8059)
  • www,anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8096.pdf (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Beet and Swiss Chard Production in California – Publication 8096)
  • www.ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1604.html (Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, Growing Beets in the Home Garden)
  • www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/easygardening/beets/beets.html (Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Easy Gardening…Beets)
  • www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2004/3-12-2004/beets.html (Iowa State University Extension, Horticulture Home Pest News, Growing Beets in the Home Garden)
  • www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene18f3.html (Cornell University, Vegetable Growing Guides – Beets)
  • www.seedsavers.org/instructions.htm (Seed Savers Exchange, Vegetable Planting and Seed Saving Instructions)

April 2011. Written by UC Master Gardener Gail Pothour. Reviewed and edited by Chuck Ingels, Farm Advisor; Judy McClure, Master Gardener Program Coordinator; and UC Master Gardeners Dave Vaughan and Bill Pierce.

To simplify information, trade names of products and company names have been used. No endorsement of named products or companies is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products or companies that are not mentioned.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of Growing Beets in Sacramento, Environmental Horticulture Note 95 (PDF, 88Kb).

Growing Beets – How To Grow Beets In The Garden

Many people wonder about beets and if they can grow them at home. These tasty red vegetables are easy to grow. When considering how to grow beets in the garden, remember that they do best in home gardens because they don’t require much room. Growing beets is done for both the red root and the young greens.

How to Grow Beets in the Garden

When thinking about how to grow beets in the garden, don’t neglect the soil. Beets do best in deep, well drained soil, but never clay, which is too heavy for large roots to grow. Clay soil should be mixed with organic matter to help soften it.

Hard soil can cause the roots of the beet to be tough. Sandy soil is best. If you plant beets in the fall, use a slightly heavier soil to help protect against any early frost.

When to Plant Beets

If you’ve been wondering when to plant beets, they can be grown all winter long in many southern states. In northern soils, beets shouldn’t be planted until the temperature of the soil is at least 40 F. (4 C.).

Beets like cool weather, so it’s best to plant them during this time. They grow well in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall and do poorly in hot weather.

When growing beets, plant the seeds 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) apart in the row. Cover the seeds lightly with loose soil, and then sprinkle it with water. You should see the plants sprouting in seven to 14 days. If you want a continuous supply, plant your beets in several plantings, about three weeks apart from each other.

You can plant beets in partial shade, but when growing beets, you want their roots to reach a depth of at least 3-6 inches (7.6 to 15 cm.), so don’t plant them under a tree where they might run into tree roots.

When to Pick Beets

Harvesting beets can be done 7 to 8 weeks after the planting of each group. When the beets have reached the desired size, gently dig them up from the soil.

Beet greens can be harvested as well. Harvest these while the beet is young and the root is small.

Growing beetroot

Where to grow

Beetroot prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, but will also thrive in raised beds or pots. Although early sowings can be made from late winter, raising plants can be tricky, so for foolproof beetroot, sow seeds directly into the soil from mid-spring.

What to do

Soil preparation

  • To make a seed bed, remove weeds and dig over the site with a spade, removing any particularly large stones.
  • Level roughly and then work over the area with a rake to leave a fine finish.
  • If you can, two or three weeks before sowing, spread a general granular fertiliser across the site and rake into the soil.

How to sow seed

Seed can be sown directly into the soil from April to July.

  • Make a 2cm (0.75in) deep trench with the corner of a rake (or a cane will do) and drop in two seeds every 10cm (4in).
  • Cover, water well and label – when the seedlings are about 2cm (0.75in) high, remove the weakest of each pair to leave one beetroot seedling every 10cm (4in).
  • If you want a plentiful supply of beetroot, sow seeds every month, keeping rows 20cm (8in) apart.

If you have a small garden, beetroot are easy to grow in pots.

  • To grow in pots (ideal for round varieties, not long cylindrical ones), choose containers that are 20cm (8in) in diameter and at least 20cm (8in) deep.
  • Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top.
  • Tap the pot gently to settle, and firm with your finger tips aiming to leave a 4cm (1.5in) gap between the surface of the compost and the top of the pot.
  • Sow seeds thinly across the surface and cover with 2cm (0.75in) of compost.
  • Water and thin out seedlings when they’re about 2cm (0.75in) tall, leaving 12cm (5in) gaps between them.

Aftercare

  • This is really easy. Remove weeds and keep seedlings well watered, especially during dry periods as this will stunt the growth of plants.

Harvesting

  • Depending on variety, beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball – this is usually 90 days after sowing. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork.
  • Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice – don’t throw these away, they have bags of taste and can be cooked and eaten like spinach.

Find out more about growing veg from Dig In.

Five to try

Beets are incredibly healthy eating. Both the roots and the leaves are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin C. They also contain betaine, a compound that is essential for cardiovascular health. Eat them raw, cooked, pickled – you can even make beet chips! Most important, it is very easy to grow beets from seed.

Latin
Beta vulgaris
Family: Amaranthaceae

Difficulty
Easy

We Recommend: Chioggia (BT169). It’s hard to pick a favourite beet because they all have winning qualities. But slice into a Chioggia beet, and discover a party going on inside! It’s certainly one of the most festive looking of all garden vegetables, and it tastes wonderful, too.
For Urban Growers: Try Bull’s Blood (BT174) as a micro-green, and harvest just as the first set of true leaves is emerging. Eye-catching and delicious – and very nutritious.

Season & Zone
Season: Cool Season
Exposure: Full-sun or partial-shade
Zone: Hardy to Zone 5

Timing
Direct sow late April to mid-July. Beets will not produce roots if planted when the soil is too cold. Seeds will germinate in 5-12 days, depending on soil temperature. Optimal soil temperature: 10-26°C (50-80°F).

Starting
Sow 1cm (½”) deep, 5-10cm (2-4″) apart in rows 30-45cm (12-18″) apart.

Harvest
Harvest at any size, but for the best flavour, pull the beets as soon as they have reached full-size. Eat the greens too. Store in the ground, or in moist peat or sand just above freezing.

Seed Info
In optimum conditions at least 75% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 600-1M seeds, per acre: 436M seeds.

Diseases & Pests
If beets have black cankers in the roots, soil may need more boron. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of borax to 4L (8½ US pints) of water, and spread evenly over 9m² (100 sq ft) of soil. Do not overapply at a heavier rate. Circular lesions with a purple halo on the leaf is cercospera leaf spot. Prevent by rotation and sanitation. Leaf miner maggots cause blistered grey tunnels in leaves. Just squish them inside the leaf. Floating row cover carefully applied will prevent the leaf miner fly from laying its eggs.

Companion Planting
Beets add minerals to the soil. The greens are very good for the compost. Plant with bush beans, Brassicas, corn, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, and mint. Add cut mint leaves as a mulch for beets. Avoid planting beets near pole beans.

More on Companion Planting.

Beets do double-duty in the kitchen, producing tasty roots for canning, roasting, or boiling and fresh greens for salads, soups, and sautéing. Beets can be planted as spring and fall crops. Here are tips for growing beets plus types of beets to consider adding to your vegetable garden.

Honestly, it took a while until I actually liked beets. The first time I tried homegrown beets I wasn’t impressed. They were fibrous and tasted like dirt to me.

I was pretty disappointed since I had purchased a bunch of beet seeds that year. I decided to continue planting the seeds anyway for their greens, which taste similar to Swiss card and spinach.

I didn’t give up on beetroots though. When I tried them again, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that younger beets do not have the same texture and taste as older ones. Instead, they have a sweet, slightly earthy flavor. Not the dirt flavor I tasted previously.

Red beets are the classic beets — dark red, earthy, and strong beet flavor. Red beets ooze their red liquid when cut and cooked.

As I explored growing and tasting a variety of beets, I found that some beet varieties are milder in flavor than the traditional red beets. Gold beets have a milder earthy flavor and white beets even less so.

White beets do not have the betalain pigment, which gives the red and yellow beets their earthy flavor as well as their color. Bonus is, both gold and white beets don’t bleed like the classic ruby red beets.

Types of Beets to Consider Growing

Red Beet Varieties

Detroit Dark Red Beets: A popular deep red, round beet variety that grows up to 3-inches in diameter. It matures 50-60 days but can be enjoyed as baby beets as soon as the roots form. Enjoy both roots and greens. Detroit dark red grows well in a wide range of soil and temperature conditions. Purchase Detroit Dark Red Beet seeds.

Early Wonder Beets: A quick maturing deep red beet that grows rapidly in cool soils, maturing in 48 days. It produces globe shaped roots up to 3-4 inches. The taproot is small making this beet a great choice for growing in containers. The greens are tall red stalks with deeply red-veined glossy green foliage. Purchase Early Wonder Beet seeds.

Ruby Queen Beets: A deep red, round shaped, and sweet beet variety, with short green tops. Fully matures in 50-60 days but can be enjoyed as baby beets as soon as the roots form.

Cylindra Beets: Also known as Forono and Formanova. These beets mature in about 60 days. These beets grow long smooth cylindrical shaped roots up 8-inches long. The long shape makes it easy to slice evenly for canning and beet chips.

Stripped Beet Varieties

Chioggia Beets: An Italian heirloom with pretty red and white stripes. Chioggia is sweeter than regular beets and works well for roasting, pickling, or eating raw. Enjoy both the roots and greens. Matures in about 55 days. Purchase Chioggia Beet seeds.

Gold Beet Varieties

Boldor Beets: The flesh is rose-gold, but changes to light orange when cooked. It has a mild, sweetness and beet flavor. Boldor is known for good germination and quick growth even in less ideal growing conditions. It fully matures in about 55 days. The greens are short light green with gold stems and veins. Purchase Boldor Beet seeds.

Golden Beets: The flesh is a light orange color. The flavor is the same as regular beets. The big bonus with golden beets is they do bleed when sliced and cooked. Matures in about 55 days.

Golden Boy Beets: Another mild flavored beet that doesn’t stain like the red beets do. The flesh is golden-orange colored and the edible leaves are bright green. Harvest beet greens, young baby beets, or fully mature beets in 65 days. Purchase Golden Boy Beet seeds.

Touchstone Gold Beets: Bright orange skin with golden interior. Forms uniformly round roots with deep green, yellow-veined tops. Flavor is mildly beety. Harvest beet greens, baby beets, or fully mature beets in about55 days. Purchase Touchstone Gold Beet seeds.

White Beet Varieties

Avalanche Beets: A creamy white, sweet beet with a mild flavor. The round roots mature in about 50 days. White beets combine well with other vegetables without staining. Harvest beet roots small, 1- to 3-inches for more tender beets. Purchase Avalanche Beet seeds.

Blankoma Beets: Similar to Avalanche with white flesh and sweet, mild flavor making them ideal for salads, soups, and pickling. Beets are best enjoyed small, 1- to 3-inches. It matures in 55 days. Harvest early for mild, baby beets. If allowed to grow too large the texture can become tough and fibrous.

White Albino Beets: Plant produces high yields of sweet white beets. Excellent flavor Beets can grow quite large without becoming bitter. Beets are white and will never stain again! Ideal for boiling, pickling, baking, and freezing.

9 Tips for Growing Beets

Beets are a cool-season crop grown for both the roots and greens. Plan on growing beets as a spring and fall crop. If your winter is mild, you can grow beets during the winter too.

Beets are so easy to grow. They don’t need special treatment and are rarely bothered by pests. Beets mature in 6-8 weeks making them an ideal crop for succession planting. Sow a hand full of seeds and thin the plants in a few weeks. Add the thinned greens to your salads.

1. When to Sow Beets

Beets prefer cooler weather can tolerate some frost. Plan to grow beets during the cool gardening seasons of spring and fall. Beet can grow in full sun and also do well in partial shade.

2. Prepare Your Growing Beds

Before sowing your seeds, prepare your garden beds by removing weeds and enriching the soil with some mature compost and all-purpose organic fertilizer. Remove any large clumps and rocks. If the weather has been dry, prepare and water the bed very well the day before you sow.

3. Plant Your Beet Seeds

Sow beets in spring when soil temperature reaches 40˚F and the ground can be worked. Seeds germinate quicker in warmer soil between 55-75˚F and can take between 10-20 days to emerge from the soil. Seeds can benefit from a brief soaking in water for 4-6 hours before planting to soften seed coat. For most varieties, plant seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Beet seeds are actually a seedpod that contains several seeds. So don’t plant too close.

4. Keep the Soil Evenly Moist

Water well at planting time and keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds sprout, in about 10-20 days depending on the variety. Don’t allow the soil to become waterlogged or the seeds will rot. When the beet plants begin to grow, let the soil dry slightly between watering. Water deeply and regularly during dry periods. Water stress during the first 6 weeks of growth often leads to premature flowering and low yields. Moisture fluctuations cause slow growth and root cracks.

5. Mulch the Soil

Once the beet seedlings become established, mulch the beds to help hold in soil moisture and suppress weeds. Keep mulch a few inches away from the stems of your seedlings so it doesn’t smother the plants.

  • Learn more about How to Use Mulch in Your Vegetable Garden.

6. Thin Your Beet Seedlings

When the beets are about 5-inches high, thin to one plant every 3-6 inches. Toss the thinned greens in salads with your other greens. Pull out discard weeds as you thin the beets. Beets will grow small roots if they are crowded. Generously thin and keep young seedlings well weeded.

7. Succession Sow Beets

Sow beet seeds every 3 weeks for a continuous harvest. Seeds will not germinate above 80˚F. Begin sowing beets again in fall up to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area.

  • 3 Succession Tips to Maximize Your Harvest

8. Extend Your Beet Harvest

Established beets can tolerate frost to about 30˚F without harming the greens. Simply cover with hoops and row covers to prevent the foliage from becoming frost damaged as the weather cools in the fall. Harvest beetroots before the temperatures drop to 20˚F.

9. When to Harvest Your Beets

Pick beet greens when they are 5-inches tall. You can snip a stalk or two from each beet plant without compromising the root growth. Harvest the beetroot when they around 2- to 3-inches in diameter. Larger beets can become fibrous and woody.

Store freshly harvested beets along with their greens loosely wrapped in the refrigerator crisper draw for about a week. To keep greens fresh, store cut ends down in a jar of water in the refrigerator. Use in about a week.

Do you grow beets? If so, what types of beets have you liked?

You May Also Like

  • How to Grow Beets Indoors
  • Tips for Growing Beets in Partial Shade
  • How to Store Beets for Winter Food Storage
  • Tips for Direct Sowing Beet Seeds

Resources and Further Reading

  • Beets – University of Maryland Extension
  • Discover the History of Beets – PBS.org
  • Types of Beets – Berkeley Wellness

Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden.

Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.

What are the benefits of beetroot?

Beetroot provides a wide range of possible health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, improving digestion, and lowering the risk of diabetes.

The sections below discuss these potential benefits in more detail.

Heart health and blood pressure

Share on PinterestBeetroot may help reduce blood pressure.

A 2015 study of 68 people with high blood pressure examined the effects of drinking 250 milliliters of beetroot juice every day.

The researchers found that doing so significantly lowered blood pressure after ingestion.

They suggest that this antihypertensive effect was due to the high levels of nitrate in the beet juice. They recommend consuming high nitrate vegetables as an effective, low cost way to help treat high blood pressure.

However, people should never stop taking a prescribed blood pressure medication without first talking to a doctor.

High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Reducing it by making dietary changes and through other means can help prevent heart failure, stroke, heart attacks, and other life threatening complications of CVD.

Diabetes

Beets contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid. This compound may help lower glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.

A 2019 review of studies looked at the effects of alpha-lipoic acid on the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. The researchers found that oral and intravenous administration of alpha-lipoic acid supplements led to a decrease in symptoms of peripheral and autonomic neuropathy in people with diabetes.

However, most of the doses in these studies were far higher than those that are available in beetroot. The effects of smaller dietary doses are not yet clear from the available research.

Here, learn more about diabetes.

Digestion and regularity

One cup of beetroot provides 3.81 grams (g) of fiber. Consuming enough fiber is essential for smooth digestion and gut health.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a single cup of beets can provide more than 8.81% of a person’s daily requirement of fiber, depending on their age and sex.

Including beetroot in the diet is one way that a person can increase their fiber intake.

Exercise and athletic performance

Some studies have found that beetroot juice supplementation can improve the amount of oxygen that muscles absorb during exercise. One 2019 study found that high doses of beetroot juice improved the time trial results of experienced cyclists.

A different study from the same year examined 12 recreationally active female volunteers. However, the researchers did not find that beetroot juice supplementation improved the participants’ athletic performance.

Therefore, further research is necessary to confirm the benefits of beetroot on exercise performance.

Cancer prevention

A 2019 review of studies found that certain compounds in beets can disrupt the cancerous mutations of cells. Such compounds include betalains, which are pigments that give beets their red and yellow color.

Although further research is necessary before health professionals can recommend beets as a replacement for other standard cancer risk reduction methods, they may have some function in reducing the risk of this condition.

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