Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Beets



Rate this Article: 

Average: 3.9 (257 votes)

Beets are a cool season vegetable crop. This root veggie grows quickly and has many different varieties, which showcase deep red, yellow, or white bulbs of different shapes.

Beets can survive frost and almost freezing temperatures, which makes them a great choice for northern gardeners and an excellent long-season crop.


  • A soil pH above 5.5–6 is best, otherwise growth will be stunted. Beets are a good indicator of soil pH.
  • Till in aged manure before planting. Beets require especially good nutrition and a high phosphorus level to germinate. Go easy on nitrogen however, an excess will cause sprawling greens and tiny bulbs beneath the soil. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)
  • Wait until soil reaches 50°F before planting.
  • Plant seeds ½ inch deep and 1-2 inches apart.
  • Make sure soil remains moist for germination.
  • In zones with low moisture and rainfall, soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting.
  • Early crop can be planted in March/April, and late crop anytime from June to September. Successive plantings are also possible as long as the weather doesn’t exceed 75°F. Space plantings about 20 days apart.
  • Winter crops are a definite possibility in Zone 9 and above.


  • Thinning is necessary, as you may get more than one seedling out of each seed. Thin when they reach about 2 inches high by pinching them off. Pulling them out of the ground may disturb the roots of nearby seedlings.
  • Established plants should be thinned to 3–4 inches between plants.
  • Mulch and water well. Beets need to maintain plenty of moisture.
  • Any necessary cultivation should be gentle, beets have shallow roots that are easily disturbed.



  • Days to maturity tend to be between 50 and 70 for most varieties, although they can be harvested at any time you see fit. If you like larger bulbs, wait longer, but understand they will be tougher and woody.
  • Don’t let greens grow above 6 inches before harvesting.
  • Don’t forget about the tops! Beet greens have a delicious and distinctive flavor, and hold more nutrition than the roots.
  • Fresh beets can be stored in the refrigerator for 5–7 days. Clipping the tops off beets will keep them fresher for longer. Leave about one inch of stem on each beet, and store the greens separately.
  • For root cellar type storage, make sure you brush off any soil clinging to these crops, then store them in a cool, dry place. An unheated closet might do, or put them in a cooler in your basement.
  • Beets can be frozen, canned, and pickled.
  • Read more about a new way to store beets in the root cellar.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

The humble beet, steamed, boiled, roasted, pickled, borscht’ed—but especially served raw—has emerged as a nutrient-dense food considered especially beneficial for health. Learn more in “Beets: Health Benefits!”

For other greens to use in your cuisine, see the Leafy Greens: Health Benefits page, as well as How to Grow Your Own Salad Greens.


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Crop rotation

My location is Hilton Head, South Carolina. I had a beautiful crop of beets harvested this fall. I planted banana peppers in the same location late spring, after the soil warmed. They failed miserably, loosing all their leaves and the roots never expanded. Would this crop rotation be the cause?

Beet greens

Can you harvest the greens before you harvest the beet? Will it harm the beet?

Harvesting beet greens

First, you may harvest beet greens as you thin the seedlings in the beginning and continue until the greens are too tough. 

Also, you may indeed harvest some of the greens before you take the root, but not all of them. Just one or two per plant. Otherwise, the root will not mature.

The greens are best when they’re young and tender–about 6 inches long.


I planted a beetroot coz there was little baby sprouts, so now it has shoot up about 15" and going to flower, should I let it flower and use the flowers to grow new plants or should I eat the flower, don't know what to do, I will wait for your reply, thanks, yours,

Beet root

Masha, Beet root, the ball (usually) that grows under the ground, is edible. And beet leaves are edible. The flowers can be saved and the seeds harvested from them. It is not common to eat the flowers. So prepare the leaves like you would spinach (raw or cooked) and roast or boil the root. There is a lot of eating in a beet!


Thanx for info I'll get this

Thanx for info I'll get this to my daughter who loves beets "who knew"

Planting beets

When should I plant beets in Louisville ky

Last years Beets?

Hi I planted some beets last year (Boltardy) I didnt manage to harvest them all. They were grown next to a wall and we have had a very gentle winter. The beets are about 4 inches wide. I wonder if they are edible? They look ok. Not sure if there is any issue with eating them?

harvesting beets

Usually, beets that get old or big taste woody, but have you tasted them?  Why not? Try it.

Curious about beets

I have heard beets are nutritious however the only beets I have ever eaten were canned pickled of which I hated. What exactly do they taste like fresh?

If you’re boiling beets,

If you’re boiling beets, perhaps canned doesn’t taste much different.  However, a fresh beet is very firm and crunchy and good for salads. The best way to figure out the taste is to try one!

If you wish to eat cooked beets, the best way is easily to roast them. You’ll never get that taste from boiling or from canned beets. To roast, just chop in quarters, and toss with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Then bake at 350 degrees until they’re done (not burned). They’ll have a carmelized taste to them–very sweet!

Flavor of beets

If all you know are canned beets you are missing a lot. Boiled are not and bland as canned. I like them steamed. I boil them if I have a lot of them to do. Then dunked in cold water and the skin just slides right off. They are sweet to taste.

What are the planting materials used for beets?

If anyone knows what the planting material used for beets are can you please tell me. Its a matter of utmost importance.


Starting the first planting of Florida grown Organic beets.

Beets in florida

How are the beets in your garden doing?
I am planting here in at. Petersburg. Do you have tips ?

Planting beets

As for us we just put chicken dong on our ground and or hog dong horse is real good to plow in real good make a fer an plant

How can I tell when the beets

How can I tell when the beets are ready for harvest?

With beets, you can harvest

With beets, you can harvest when they are 1 inch in diameter. Most people harvest when beets are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. If they get too big, they can taste woody. You just have to pull one up to see its size!
Remember that the beet greens at the top can be eaten, too, similar to spinach. The younger the beet, the more tender the beet green.
You can leave beets in the ground to store but do harvest the beets in the fall but it's best to pull them before the first freeze.

I live in New Orleans, are

I live in New Orleans, are there any specific beet varieties that do better in the South? zone 9?

You can grow most any variety

You can grow most any variety as long as you plant at the proper time (personally we love candy-striped 'Chioggia'). In Louisiana, the best planting dates for beets are 1/15 - 2/28 (spring) or 8/15 -10/1 (fall) because, as you know, they need cooler weather. We'd probably go with a fall planting. 

Hi there! My beet's tops are

Hi there! My beet's tops are about 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch tall. Is it REALLY able to harvest now, or should I wait longer?

Beet greens can be harvested

Beet greens can be harvested when they are between 4 and 6 inches tall; baby beet greens are picked when smaller--about 2 to 3 inches tall. You might want to wait just a bit longer. Harvest sparingly per beet, leaving several leaves on the beet, if you also want to harvest the root later on.

It sounds like you're saying

It sounds like you're saying the top of the ROOT is 1 1/2" wide. They sound like they are bulbing up nicely and should be harvested soon. They may get bigger, but they also might get tougher.

I've soaked my beet seeds and

I've soaked my beet seeds and forgot about them. They've started to sprout on the napkin. Do I need to toss these and start fresh?

Plant them! sprouting

Plant them! sprouting doesn't hurt!

Should I hill-up my rows for

Should I hill-up my rows for my cylindra beets? Thought maybe they would develop large if tying to penetrate the looser soil. Also, do you recommend wide rows for beets?


Well, Sparkey, you've turned

Well, Sparkey, you've turned us on to something new. Cylindra beets (for those who do not know) do not form as ball-shapes but as 6- to 7-inch cylinders, thus the name. One seed provider advises spacing the rows 12 to 16 inches apart. These, and other beets, like lots of well-composted soil. Hills would work, but so would loose, amended (per above) ground soil that has been worked to a depth of 6 to 7 inches.

Is beet a companion for

Is beet a companion for lettuce? I read at two sites beet and lettuce are good companion plants, then at another site that lettuce and BEETROOT are NOT good companions. Beet and beetroot, aren't they the same thing?! And do you know which is true: companionable? Or not?


Beetroot is the root part of

Beetroot is the root part of the beet plant (vs. the leaves, or greens).
As for companion plants, I'm usually finding that beets are helped by lettuce, and according to some sources, they also help lettuce in turn. I can not find a scientific paper verifying this, however. You might try an experiment in your own garden and conditions.

I believe lettuce helps soak

I believe lettuce helps soak up excess nitrogen in the soil, which assists beets in forming good roots instead of going all to greens.

I tend to plant beets in soil formerly occupied by lettuce or other leaf crops. This year I didn't, but the first ones to bulb up had been planted right next to the spinach.

Hi there, I am curious about

Hi there,

I am curious about the watering of beets. I fear I may have overwatered mine as I have lush greens, but minimal root. Also they are flopping around a bit- a bit stalky. I have put compost around to help prop them up, with a light water to finish- but I am now unsure when to water again? Some sites say don't let the soil dry please :)

Maintain even soil moisture.

Maintain even soil moisture. It helps to add mulch or compost around the beets to supress weeds and keep the moisture in the soil. Too much nitrogen in the soil can promote leaf growth and cause beetroots to be small.

I have stored some beets and

I have stored some beets and some are sprouting. Can I cut these beets like I do my potatoes and plant the sprouts?

Sorry, Gregg: No, beets will

Sorry, Gregg: No, beets will not reproduce like potatoes. Sprouting on beets is a sign of poor storage and leads to decay, according to our sources. Storage temperatures should not exceed 45°F, and you should have clipped off the greens about an inch from the beet.
Get yourself some seeds for this growing season and start again.

My beets have white stripes

My beets have white stripes inside. What does this mean? Please help! Thx in advance!

This is just different

This is just different variety of beets. There are also beets that are orange like carrots and orange with white strips.

Thanx so much for your

Thanx so much for your comment...when my beets cooled down after cooking they did turn purple Evgeniya

hi, I have apassion for beets

hi, I have apassion for beets since I was once instructed by a doctor to eat, Now I want start planting, my question is do I have to plant seeds in nussery bed first or sow seeds direct and is possible to use organic manure ? kindly advice

Saw directly. It is advisable

Saw directly. It is advisable to put a little bit of manure with the seed (in the hole) while planting beets because they need phosphorous

First time Gardner. I

First time Gardner. I planted beets, but I don't think I planted the seeds deep enough. I have beautiful greens, then on the top of the ground there is the entire beet (no larger than a small gum ball) which is then connected to the ground via a root. My question, if I cover all the beets now with dirt will I be able to save them? Or should I just harvest the greens and try again?

Beet roots naturally push out

Beet roots naturally push out of the ground as they mature. You could have 6 inches of beet above ground! However, the roots should not be so small. There are a variety of reasons for this problem, mainly related to soil preparation: 1) your soil was too compacted and not loose enough 2) there was not enough organic matter and nutrients in soil, 3) the soil was too acidic (get a soil test). Also, beets need plenty of direct sunlight and they need to thinned so they are not crowded and have enough space to grow.

beet seeds are actually a

beet seeds are actually a cluster two to five individual seeds.

I planted my beets this year

I planted my beets this year next to my peas and I have very large beautiful leaves and very small beets. May need to increase phosphorus I guess, and thin them ASAP! I did transplant some, and they did okay, some that I transplanted have the largest beet root of them all, but I did have to take extra good care of them. I will plant further apart next year as well. Always thought you could get more than one plant per seed, nice to see it confirmed here.

Legumes affix nitrogen into

Legumes affix nitrogen into the soil. Makes for nice greens and tiny roots.

Before planting my seeds I

Before planting my seeds I toss 1tbsp of Epsom salt and a uncooked pinto bean then add beet seed and cover with soil this year was the best beets ever.

Beet Leaf Idea: Make a batch

Beet Leaf Idea:
Make a batch of bread dough. Take small pieces, about 1" round, and wrap in a single beet leaf. (for one 3 cups of flour dough recipe, I used a colander full of large beet leaves. ) Place on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper, fairly close together. Allow to rise, until double in size, about 1 hour. bake for about 20 -25 min, at 350.
My husband then started eating them.
Store covered in frig.
Next day, fry chopped onion & garlic, add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup shredded cheddar, and the pan full of beet wrapped bread. cook until heated through and the cheese is melted, toss in some finely chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste. May need to add a bit more milk if sauce is too thick. Use as the starch in the meal. Sooooo GOooood!.

I started my beets in

I started my beets in home-made plant starters. I used newspapers that I rolled up and stuffed with a mix of topsoil and compost. Once I had leaves that were about 2 inches, I unrolled the newspaper and planted the "pods" into my raised beds (they are 1 1/2 feet deep). They raised beds have the same top soil/compost ratio. My beets are doing fantastic and I will be ready to harvest this weekend.

I used the same plant starters for most of my veggies this year and they are all doing very well.

That sounds interesting.

That sounds interesting. Were they individual pods, I am trying to visualize this. and am thinking of rolled newspaper like a log, but that does not sound right. How do you roll dirt in paper? if it worked I would like to try it.

I'm not sure if your question

I'm not sure if your question was already addressed or not so I'm dong so now.

I have used newspaper like this and it works well. Transplanting is a breeze. The only thing I would make sure of, which now days they usually are, is if the newspaper ink is a vegetable based ink. Other than that shouldn't be any problems.


I'm not sure if your question

I'm not sure if your question was already addressed or not so I'm dong so now.

I have used newspaper like this and it works well. Transplanting is a breeze. The only thing I would make sure of, which now days they usually are, is if the newspaper ink is a vegetable based ink. Other than that shouldn't be any problems.


I read down a,few comments,

I read down a,few comments, one said can they be started and then planted.. I started my beets inside in a pot because we had a long winter and some crazy storms. Planted outnside in middle of May when they where about an inch. Doing good.

I am not sure I even know how

I am not sure I even know how to describe this! I live in Central Indiana. I planted onion bulbs and then beets behind them (in rows). Now my garden has been taken over by what I assume to be the beets because from the ground for about 2" is red before it stems of into two long "stems" but there are no leaves! I did not know about cutting them or "thinning" until today. ANY advice on that would be helpful. I have been looking and looking all day and found something that looks similar and that is wild leeks it's just they are coming up exactly where I planted stuff. I have a mole so it's possible that some of the seeds were moved around.

We're stumped. Beets do have

We're stumped. Beets do have reddish stems. However, they also have leaves! You could always bring a sample to your local garden nursery. I guess the plant will keep growing and you'll find out soon enough! 

This year is my first time

This year is my first time trying to grow vegetables. I live in south Louisiana. I have been planting small things in pots. Such as garlic, green onions, radishes, and celery. I love beets and carrots, so I was wondering if they can be planted in pots and if so when do I plant them because it stays over 70 degrees for a long time. Thanks for your help.

Yes, beets grow well in  deep

Yes, beets grow well in  deep containers (more than 1 foot deep). In Louisiana, the best planting dates for beets are 1/15 - 2/28 (spring) or 8/15 -10/1 (fall) because, as you said, they need cooler weather. We'd probably go with a fall planting. 

I planted my beets probably

I planted my beets probably about 45 days ago, and they germinated like crazy, but they are all extremely floppy and have had trouble standing up, and many have died. They are very top heavy with biggish leaves growing well but no strong stem and they keep falling over, and there is NO root swelling. Is there any hope for beetroot? What could I have done wrong? They were very crowded but I thinned them out twice in a pretty reasonable timeframe. I did get a decent amount of greens but not really worth all the work, not sure if I want to try them again next year.

It sounds as if it could be

It sounds as if it could be overwatering. They could be dampening off. Stick your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle, if there is some moist soil sticking to your finger, you should be good on water and let them dry out.

I live in southern York

I live in southern York county Pa.. It is June 6th and temps are getting into the 70-80 range. My beets are getting white water colored blotches and eventually it kills the leaf. Their is no sign of bugs, mold,bumps, just color change. Do you know what this is? Heat? Too much water? Too little water? Fungus? Planted them 1st week of May. They have at best 2"x 3/4" size. they are the Cylindra Betabel variety. Thanks, Doug

White patches on beets

White patches on beets usually means some form of mildew, a fungal disease: 
There are numerous fungicides to prevent the spread of mildew. Speak to your local garden center about what's available in your state.

What is a good plant to plant

What is a good plant to plant in the beds I just harvested my beets from? My beets turned out very nicely this year. I'm going to double my plants next year but move them to a new location. I am curious since I can't find anything on what to plant where the beets were previously? Any ideas?

Our favorite last name! Hi,

Our favorite last name! Hi, Shane Rains! Members of this family (also spinach, chard) are pretty resilient and can deal with just about any preceder (if you are going to go back to the same bed after skipping a year), but because beets are heavy eaters, it's best to follow and prep them with legumes (peas, beans). BTW: Don't forget the greens! Nutritious as well as yum-mo!

I'm just wondering... is it

I'm just wondering... is it okay to start BEET seedlings prior to planting? Will that be a successful thing to do? Or will it grow an inferior plant or not grow all together?

I did a few trays for fun but am wondering if I should just not bother with them and do all seeds to soil instead.

I've only been growing beets

I've only been growing beets a short time but everything I've read says they do not transplant well. I grew mine from seeds this year, placing 2 seeds in each hole, 4-5 inches apart. When they started coming in, I pulled the smaller one in each hole and left the stronger one. Actually harvested the last set today. They are excellent tasting too.

I have beets that I grew over

I have beets that I grew over the winter this year (I live in zone 10). I grew the variety Chioga, which comes out red with white stripes like a target. Most of the beets came out perfectly except for being huge because they were in the ground so long, but one of the beets came out white for some reason (my boyfriend thought it was a parsnip until I pointed out the leaves). Any idea why this would happen? Is there anything wrong with the beet?

Chioggia beets usually have

Chioggia beets usually have pretty red and white candy stripes. It's not uncommon for some to turn out all red or all white; there's nothing wrong.

To the person who said their

To the person who said their beets wouldn't grow I assume you mean germinate. You could try watering well and placing wet cardboard or a board on top after planting. Make sure the ground doesn't dry out until they germinate. It might take a week or two. This worked for me.

Live in San Francisco area.

Live in San Francisco area. My beats have tons of green. But the bulb size doesn't look good. It is now getting warm. Should I pull them off now.. or wait. If wait.. how long..


Beets like cool weather, but

Beets like cool weather, but they can take some heat and it's not that hot in San Francisco right now. With a shade cover (an old bedsheet), they should do OK. Or, you can plant again in the fall when the weather is cooler. If you have lush green and small bulbs, this is usually due to too much nitrogen in the soil. Make sure you have loose soil with lots of compost mixed in. And they may need more water.

I live in Salt Lake City,

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I planted my beet seeds about four weeks ago but I planted them in those little plastic containers (the ones you're suppose to use)? for new plants. I think I really screwed up though because each container is about 3"x3" and about 2" deep but now all the seeds have popped up and now I have 15 to 20 plants in each container. After reading some of the comments here it looks as if after I thin them out I'll probably only get 6 to 8 beets :( is this the case or can I transplant a few of them when I take them out of the container? Or should I just plant seeds now in the garden and chaulk this one up to experience? I will lose about 180 beets if I can't use these.

Yep, live and learn. You can

Yep, live and learn. You can plant small pots in the ground if they are made from peat or organic materials which decompose. If you plant seeds in plastic pots, you do not put the plastic pots in the ground. As you learned, you would want to plant one seed per plastic pot so you don't have to separate the seedlings and risk damaging their roots.
At this point, we would thin by clipping some of the beet seedlings at their base. Then, on a cloudy day, lift the beets from plastic pots very carefully, gently placing in a well-prepared soil bed that has 2 inches of compost mixed in. Plant at the same depth they experienced in the pot. Space the beet plants 4 to 6 inches apart in a row. After planting, gently water at the base of the plant. 

I am new at gardening...have

I am new at gardening...have never grown beets. I bought a beet plant at the nursery and now wonder, does one plant only grow one beet? Please forgive but I won't know if I don't ask. Thanks.

This year my beet patch

This year my beet patch is
420 sqr feet. One beet per
plant. Last year we canned
just over 100 qrts of beet.
pickled. I expect at 150 qrts this year.

No dumb questions! Yes, one

No dumb questions! Yes, one beet plant produces one beet root! Check the seed packet for spacing.

So if I plant 5 beets plants,

So if I plant 5 beets plants, I will only get 5 beets total?



Yes, one beet per plant, but

Yes, one beet per plant, but I will tell you last year I seeded 2 and 3 seeds per area (that is in one row I put two and in the other I put three), I got anywhere from 5 to 9 beets or more growing in each area I seeded. So I propose that each seed is capable of sprouting more that two beet stems which, in my case, led to a lot of overcrowding.

Everybody's got to learn at

Everybody's got to learn at some point - not everyone had gardening parents who taught them, so ask away.

Beets typically don't respond well to being transplanted - buy a packet of seeds instead (and it's way cheaper). If you're having trouble keeping the seeds moist enough to germinate, try putting an old board over the planted seeds after you water them. Check it every day for moisture (keep moist but not soaked) and sprouted beets. Remove the board once the beets are sprouted. They need full sun, or as much sun as you can give them.

its a good question for a

its a good question for a beginner. one per plant is because it is a root we are after, similar to carrots and they usually only grow one. rarely, i have had double or triple beets and up to six on my carrots but usually just one. items like that are best from seed. much cheaper and do much better. good luck!

I live in northeast Pa.

I live in northeast Pa. Started my first garden ( 12.raised beds 4' x 12') last year. Did well with everything except the red beets, spinach and Swiss chard leaves hit hard with leaf miners. How can I prevent this!

Crop rotation is the first

Crop rotation is the first line of defense to avoid contaminated soil this year. Eliminating weeds will aid in the management of leafminers. Row covers can also be used to exclude flies if placed over the crop before flies are active. Begin scouting susceptible crops in mid-May.  Scout undersides of leaves for eggs and treat when they are first observed in order to target larvae as they hatch. 
During most years, you may need sprays to prevent injury. Apply insecticides according to label directions. There are effective treatments available for both conventional and organic growers, however, regulations differ by state so we suggest you speak to your cooperative extension county office:

Thanks, I do remember seeing

Thanks, I do remember seeing very small white dots on the underside of the spinach leaves. Do the flies emerge from the soil where the crop was planted last year? Is it possible to treat the bed before planting, it kill the larva before the flies emerge?

beet juice is getting more

beet juice is getting more common in tractor tires,on roads (as to keep roads clear of ice) and I've heard that it can be used to make ethnol (has the highest octane)--my question is if a person with small acreage could grow beets with any success and do you think it would be profitable how would harvest? what equipment would you need?---etc.

I forgot to mention I'm in

I forgot to mention I'm in central il.

This year will be our fourth

This year will be our fourth year for
planting beets. Normally we plant ruby
reds or detroit reds. Our soil is heavy
alkline with cleche rock, I try and
remove as much of the rocks as possible
but we never get rid of them. I usually
plant the last week in Feb. or first
week in Mar. Haven't had a bad year yet. First year we canned around 25 qrts. Last year we canned over 100 qrts.

Thanks for sharing, Michael.

Thanks for sharing, Michael. That's impressive. How much space do you use to can 100 qrts of beets?

I use a plot about

I use a plot about 16x30
feet. The first year I sowed the seed.Normally now
I plant in rows. This year
my beet plot will be 20x30
feet. I'm hoping for a larger crop.

I never liked beets, it reminded me of eating dirt.
But I have aquired a taste
for them and can eat them almost every day.

Thank you for sharing. It's

Thank you for sharing. It's helpful to know the size of garden that generated that yield. We've also found beets one of the easier crops to grow. And, like, you, most of us are beet converts! Love them seasoned and roasted.

My garden total is

My garden total is quite
large. every year we plant
orka, squash, beans, peas,
onions, beets, peppers, and
an assortment of other things.

Last year I planted 20-50 foot rows of orka. The orka
never produced a single pod. They never grew more than 3 inchs tall. I had a
big problem with rabbits.
cotton tails. They would clip the tops off. I finally gave up on the orka.

Last year I started my

Last year I started my garden, installed an expensive 8 foot deer fence... the rabbits ate through that fence and destroyed everything... I did some research and found this product called DeFence from Havahart. I prefer the pellets, they last longer than sprays... ever since then I sprinkle it around the garden fence every couple of weeks, I check on it after the rains... it lasts for a while... it repels the rabbits and deer... and it's organic... I could have saved a lot of money doing my research before installing that expensive deer fence... DeFence works like magic! I tell everyone about it. It's good for the trees, bushes and all the places you want to protect from those hungry pests... I just ordered 15 more pounds of it... don't want to run out...

When you say thin the crop at

When you say thin the crop at 3 inches, it is to take them out and re plant them every 3 inches or to throw away every plant between them?

Not all seeds will germinate

Not all seeds will germinate so we always start out planting more than is needed. Once you see the seedlings emerge -- and what has come up -- you need to make sure there is enough space between each plant so that they have ample room to grow to a healthy size. This means taking out the "extra" seedlings in between each plant. Otherwise, the plants will be too close together and will compete with each other. It's hard to thin but you must. Sometimes you can replant the seedlings that are removed, but they don't usually survive and most people don't bother; throw them in the compost to decompose.

The leaves that are thinned

The leaves that are thinned are excellent in salads!

When is the best time to

When is the best time to plant beet in Connecticut and how can I save my beets that are growing on top of kitchen counter

Beet seeds can be planted as

Beet seeds can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked without becoming cloddy. In Connecticut, this is often late March to early April. See our Best Planting Dates chart:

Can you grow beets at this

Can you grow beets at this time year for central oregon coast late oct early nov. let me know please.

In Oregon, beets can be

In Oregon, beets can be planted 2 to 4 weeks before the last killing frost (March, April) through July and you'll have beets growing until autumn!

our beets grow and form

our beets grow and form nicely BUT they are not red all the way through they are pale red and are not as sweet as they should be?

Have you planted this variety

Have you planted this variety of beets before? Beet varieties can have different shades of red, especially heirlooms which can be pink, yellow, white, and candy-striped.

I made my first attempt at

I made my first attempt at growing beets in pots with soil (I tried doing it organic, but made the mistake of buying a non organic soil which had some chemical fertalizer in it). I didn't space them out enough but a few seemed to grow to a decent size (the greens at least) I picked one smaller one the other day and got a tiny maybe 1 inch beet and I split it with my friend, it kind of made us light headed and felt funny, also burned our throats for a while afterwards.

Any clue if somethings wrong with my beets? Not sure I'd want to eat more than one small piece at a time just incase.



Hi, Ben, Raw beets are very

Hi, Ben, Raw beets are very earthy roots. From what we've learned, most beet varietes do not have this burning sensation though some types do. Of course, everyone has different food sensitivies (and allergies), too, though you said that both you and your friend had this issue so this probably isn't the case. To avoid the throat burning sensation, try peeling beets before eating them raw. Also, we suggest that you eat them in small amounts--for example, grated on a salad. Another tip is to simply eat them cooked. Steam or roast the beets. Oxalic acid in the beet skin gets neutralized when cooked. Our favorite way to eat beets is to cut them in bite-size pieces, toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary, and roast for an hour or until tender.

I live in Central Coast CA

I live in Central Coast CA grew wonderful beets, sweet and great greens. Still had some in the ground and when I went to harvest the last ones I have growths on the roots, some with many clusters and some with just one. What are these and my beets were tough?

We do not know what the

We do not know what the "growths" are on the roots of your beets. They may be unformed beets.
Beets often get tough and fibrous when they get too big, or when the fertililty and moisture levels during the growing period are not optimal, and/or when temperatures are too high. Also, smaller beets tends to be better: the recommended size for eating is about 2 inches in diameter.
Beet seeds are actually clusters if single-seeded fruits grown together into a seedball or multiple fruit. Thinning of seedlings to about 1 inch apart is recommended to allow for normal root development.
We hope this helps!

Can I pick the beet tops for

Can I pick the beet tops for steaming before I pull the beets? How much leaf should I leave on the beet.

The beet tops should be left;

The beet tops should be left; this is how the beet grows. When you're ready to pull the beet, you can eat the tops. If you are thinning the beets, you can eat the thinnings.

I am in So. California and

I am in So. California and have a few beets I haven't pulled up in about 2 years just to see what they would do and are now the size of footballs! They've never gone to seed/flowered (hybrids?), nor have they grown baby beets (i was hoping they'd spread somehow). Is there anything to be done with them besides tossing them out? (I do pick the newer greens that sprout to eat)

Usually, beets that get this

Usually, beets that get this big taste woody, but have you tasted them?  Why not? Try it.  We've never grown beets this big so we'll look to the community for ideas. Enter these monsters into a state fair? :-)

Can I grow beets the way the

Can I grow beets the way the way one can with a potato? That is, plant a slice and it will grow a new plant. I know beets don't have "eyes" like a potato, but how abut a piece of the tap root on a beet?

Beets grow from seeds, but

Beets grow from seeds, but you can save beet seeds from the prior year if you wish (as long as the variety isn't a "hybrid"). Store a few good-size beets through winter and replant them in the early spring. Let the beet plants grow flowers. The flowers will be quite tall so you'll need to stake them. After they grow spikes, snip off the ends to help the seeds mature. As the spikes turn a brownish color and dry out, cut them and place them in a paper bag in a warm, dry place. After two weeks, rub out the seeds. Store in a cool, dry area of your house such as the back of a large refrigerator.

I have placed a beet half way

I have placed a beet half way submerged in a clear plastic cup, it is held up by 3 toothpicks placed in it and resting on the top of the cup.

The top is sprouting beautifully and the roots are sprouting quite quickly after some dormancy (I almost gave up and then saw the roots one morning).

Is this just a silly experiment or can beets be propagated in this manner? I know it works with sweet potato - I just pull the 6" slips off the potato and place them in water and they sprout lots of roots and then I transplant them into the ground.

Your thoughts please?

My beets grow out of the

My beets grow out of the ground, what am I doing wrong?

A part of the beet will often

A part of the beet will often swell above the ground and that is fine.  Plant about half-inch to one-inch below soil.

My first beet season two

My first beet season two falls ago in Western N.C. was fantastic. But every time since in the same beds I get germination and NO growth. Soil neutral pH, mixed to full sun. Seedlings emerge, I thin, etc. -- ??? The variety names are Red Ace & Early Wonder. As I said, both went like gangbusters the first time.

First time's the charm, as

First time's the charm, as they say. In so many ways.
It's a pretty sure thing that the problem is crop rotation, Howard. Failure to rotate crops leads to nutrition-deficient soil. Repeating most crops in the same place will almost inevitably lead to increasingly poor-performing ones. And failure to rotate is a common hazard because most people think more or less like you: It did so well here, this must be a perfect spot for it! Alas, no.
As it happens, we have an article on exactly this in the 2014 Almanac, which will be available in stores around the end of August. Essentially, most edible plants should grow in a "new" spot in the garden every year. There are rotation patterns to follow (some are cited in the article) that are advantageous to the soil and disadvantageous to plant pests, and the article includes a chart putting every crop into its family to help you plan year after year..
It's really too late to do anything now; that is, during this growing season with these seeds/plants. You might try a new late summer/fall crop our sources suggest that this is a strong possibliity in your state. Be sure to prep the soil, etc., in a "new" area of the garden, if you do.
For the time being, in advance of next season, make a map of your current garden, showing where the various plants were set. (This practice is noted in the upcoming Almanac article.) This will aid you in developing a rotation plan for next few years—and with luck and such planning, you will have wonderful harvests for years.
BTW, if you read the article in the 2014 Almanac, please let us know if you find it useful.

My greens are about 4-5

My greens are about 4-5 inches. It's July 9th here in Victoria BC. The weathers been in mid 20c's for a few weeks now, when's good to harvest. I planted early May.

For greens, harvest when they

For greens, harvest when they are 5 to 6 inches tall (now!). For the roots, harvest when they are 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. This is usually 40 to 50 days in. They are most tender then. As they get bigger, they get more fibrous. Leave about 1 inch of foliage on the root when you harvest.

We planted in a box garden

We planted in a box garden using the premixed container garden soil specifically for square foot gardens. Our beets are doing poorly. They have been kept most. We had one beet that had lovely greens but when we pulled it, the beet was not formed and it had lots of tiny roots going horizontally out from where the beet should have formed. Some of the beets are barely showing any greens and just stagnating. I live in Northern Utah. What am I doing wrong?

While almost every plant

While almost every plant likes some moisture, few want to be "kept moist." You may have provided too much water.
We can't comment on the soil you purchased (because we know nothing about it), but every plant has specific needs. A significant consideration is pH (soil acidity vs sweetness, or alkalinity). Beets need/like 6.5. to 7.5. You would test your soil to determine whether you have proper pH.
Beets also like rich compost; you can add this to any premixed soil, ideally before the seeds are planted but you can gently mix is around plants as they grow.
You could also improve conditions by watering with mild "manure tea" (water steeped in manure).
A nitrogen-based fertilizer, administered about 6 weeks after plant emergence can encourage growth.
Finally, consider this, too: Utah State's Extension service suggests that you can replant in August and hope for a fall crop.

frost and beets

beets tend to be sweeter after a LIGHT frost or two

Vancouver, BC

What is the juiciest variety of beets? I don't care for the pulpy ones, and would like to try some new varieties this year.

A Purdue University study

A Purdue University study recommends Bull's Blood, Eagle, Excaliber, and Red Ace.


Where in Az. do you live, Candy? We're in the White Mtns. 7,000 ft. When we harvested our beets this year, they were soft....did we leave them in the ground too long? Also, the article said you could have a winter crop? They are in the ground all through the winter? We need some help please. ha

Beets in Arizona

If your beets were soft when you harvested them, you may have waited too long: Large beets (over 3 inches in diameter) can get soft, fibrous, or tough. Smaller beets (about 1 to 2 inches) are more flavorful and have a better texture. Medium beets (2 to 3 inches) are good for some purposes as well.

For high-elevation gardens of Arizona (above 6000 feet), you can plant beets around mid-May through mid-June. Looks like your first expected frost date in autumn is about mid-September, and last expected is mid June. I believe the White Mountains are in USDA Hardiness Zone 6, which is not warm enough to have a winter crop. In certain lower elevations of Arizona (Zones 9 and above), one might be able to do so, however.

Beets like it cool (60s F ideal for growing), and can withstand some frost, but they do not like a severe freeze.


i did what the site said, am my beets won't grow! grrr...


ground temp is the key, take the hi and the low for the day add together, divie in half, that is your groud temp.50*I plant in Oct and Nov. Good luck. I have had to planted three or four times to get thing to grow.Az is a very hot summer and a nice long winter.Candy

Botanical Name: 

Beta vulgaris

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Soil pH: 

Hardiness Zone: 

Keep Your New Garden Growing

keepgardengrowingcover.jpgTop 10 Veggies.
Almanac Editors Tips- water, feed, pest control, harvest


You will also be subscribed to our Almanac Companion Newsletter


Solar Energy Production Today

88.30 kWh

Live data from the solar array at The Old Farmer's Almanac offices in Dublin, NH.