Expert gardener demonstrates growing beets
Learn how to grow beets from sowing the seeds to harvesting the roots! Beets should be a staple of any vegetable garden. As well as being truly delicious, they’re really easy to grow from seed—and you don’t have to wait long ’til harvest time.
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 season extender such as a hoop house or row cover. Our Garden Planner will recommend ideal sowing times for your location. If you add a season extender, the will automatically adjust the dates to allow for the additional warmth.
- Mark out seed drills into prepared soil one inch deep and one foot apart.
- Pop a beet seed into the drill every 1-2 inches.
- Cover the drill over with soil and pat down.
Alternatively, sow seeds into plug trays – great for early crops started off under cover. Sow two or three seeds into each cell.
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 8-10 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.
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.
The leaves can be twisted off and cooked like spinach. Or, see our recipe for Beet Greens Salad.
If you experience mild winters you can leave roots sown later in the season in the ground to dig up as you need them. Or, store roots in boxes of dry sand in a cool, frost-free place.
You can also freeze beet greens to use at a later date!
For more information on growing beets, see our complete Almanac Beets Growing Guide.
Ready to get started? Our Almanac Garden Planner will automatically calculate your sowing dates, your plant spacing, and more. Plus, you’ll get a free printable calendar with planting and harvesting dates that fit you.
For new gardeners, we are offering a free 7-day trial to encourage all to try drawing out their first garden plot!
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I have grown beets each time starting late summer and harvested in Mid November. Each time they only grew to the size of a walnut ( in the shell). Any advice?
You may want to perform a soil test on your garden to make sure that you’re not missing any key nutrients, or that your nutrient levels and pH aren’t out of whack. Your soil should be loose enough for the beets to easily push through it, too. See more advice in our Beets Growing Guide.
Beet greens can be harvested prior to the root bring of typical size, however, the root tends to stop growing as the leaves full back in. ..don't expect a huge crop if you have enjoyed the greens in the early season.