Beets are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing beets in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
Beets are a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to early spring, and mid to late summer for a fall harvest. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your beets with a blanket of straw or cover them with plastic buckets.
Plant your beet seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, beet seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move beet plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting beets in the garden, it’s best to space them 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
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The key to caring for beets in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 288 cubic inches (4,719 cubic centimetres) in size. Any old flower pots you have lying around should do the trick.
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing beets in containers.
On average, it takes about 40 days for planted beet seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
Typically, beet plants reach about 1 foot (or 30 centimetres) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
Beets need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
Beets like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your beets on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your beets in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than beets planted directly in the garden.
You will know your beets are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your beets, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
Beets are ready to harvest when you can see a little bit of the crown peaking out of the soil. Use a garden spade or fork to loosen the soil around the beet. Firmly grasp the base of the stem and lift the beet out of the ground.