How to Grow Beets: From Sowing to Harvest

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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Beets grow best in well-prepared, rich, moist soil in full sun. They can also be grown in containers.

Beets can be sown directly outdoors from mid-spring until the middle of summer. You can use our Garden Planner to discover exactly when to sow beets in your area. If you add a season extender, such as a row cover or hoop house over your beets, the recommended dates will be automatically adjusted.

Make seed drills about 1 inch deep and 1 foot apart. Place the seeds about 1-2 inches apart in the drill. Or, sow into plug trays of potting soil, two or three seeds per cell.

Thin out rows of direct-sown seedlings to 4 inches apart within the row. Plant out seedlings started in plug trays to 8-10 inches apart in each direction. The plants will naturally push themselves apart as they grow, so you don’t need to separate or thin them.

Water your beets if the weather is dry to avoid any checks to growth and to reduce the risk of bolting. Keep your beets weeded by hand, or by using a hoe.

Beets are ready to dig up when they are between golf ball and tennis ball sized. You can either twist the leaves off and compost them, or cook them like spinach. If your winters are mild, you can leave roots sown later in the season in the ground and dig them up as required. Alternatively, store roots in boxes of dry sand in a cool but frost-free place.

Learn more about growing beets in this video.

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Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

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