Beets are delicious, whether grated into salads, roasted in oil, boiled, or made into soup (borscht). They’re also really easy and quick to grow from seed. For best results grow beets in rich, fertile soil in full sun. (They can also be grown in containers.)
- Sow seeds outdoors from mid-spring until the middle of summer. (You can sow a couple of weeks earlier using a hoop house or row cover for protection.) Our Garden Planner will recommend ideal sowing times for your location.
- Mark out seed drills into prepared soil 1 inch deep and 1 foot apart.
- Pop a beet seed into the drill every 1 to 2 inches.
- Cover the drill over with soil and pat down.
- Alternatively, sow seeds into plug trays, which are great for early crops started under cover. Sow two or three seeds into each cell. Note: Beet seeds are actually capsules that contain several seeds, so you may get two or three sprouts from each one.
- Thin out rows of direct-sown seedlings to 4 inches apart.
- Plant clusters of plug tray-grown seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart in each direction. The plants will naturally push each other apart as they grow, and don’t need to be thinned.
- Keep plants watered in dry weather. This will promote good, even growth and reduce the risk of bolting, or flowering, which renders the root inedible.
- Keep beets weeded by hand, or by carefully hoeing between rows.
Harvesting and Storing
Harvest beets when they’re between the size of a golf ball and the size of a tennis ball. Dig them out, or just gather the base of the stems and twist the root out of the soil.
Tip: If you experience mild winters you can leave beets that were sown later in the season in the ground longer, harvesting as you need them. Or, store roots in boxes of dry sand in a cool, dry, frost-free place.