How To Grow and Care For Beets - Backyard Boss
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How To Grow and Care For Beets

Beets are a highly nutritious vegetable that you can use in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Whether boiled, steamed, roasted, or pickled, they are filled with flavor and come in a beautiful deep red color that brightens any dish. 

Beets are hardy root vegetables, meaning they can withstand a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. It allows them to be grown and harvested between the summer and winter. With such a long period of opportunity to cultivate these veggies, you’ll have plenty of time to plant and harvest beautiful beets in your garden

With these four steps, your beets are bound to grow successfully no matter what time of season you plant them in.

Materials Needed

Tools for gardening
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First things first! You’ll need to start the beet growing process by grabbing the right garden tools, including:

  • Beet seeds or seedlings
  • A sunny garden bed with fertile and loose soil (make sure to remove any rocks or roots)
  • A shovel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Watering can or garden hose

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Grow and Care For Beets

Step One: Prepare Your Seeds

Types of beets
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When selecting your seeds, it’s best to go with a “bolt-resistant” variety. These have a slower maturation rate, which is beneficial for helping your beets take their time developing. 

Though dark red beets (“Detroit Dark Red”) are the most common, there are also other colored varieties to choose from. “Chioggia” is a type of beet that, when cut open, reveals a fun red and white ringed pattern. “Avalanche” and “Albino” are white types, and “Touchstone Gold” is a yellow variety.

Germination takes around five to eight days if you work with soil around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Soil that’s colder than this will slow down germination by one to two weeks. To help speed up the length of germination, let your seeds soak in water for up to 24 hours before planting them.

 Step Two: Time for Planting

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For a summer harvest, begin to sow seeds in the early spring once the soil has thawed. You can sow your seeds indoors about one month before the last spring frost. If you’re looking to harvest your beets later in the fall, sow your seeds around four to six weeks in advance of the first fall frost. Beets are frost-tolerant vegetables, so even if the temperature drops and they are exposed to frost, your beets will stay resilient and should not experience any damage.

When selecting a garden space for your beets to grow, choose a spot with lots of sunlight. Beets need between six and eight hours of sunlight per day. If you have Swiss Chard or Spinach in your garden, avoid planting your beets nearby. Both these veggies are in the same plant family as beets and can easily spread pests and diseases. 

Make sure to sow your seeds around ½-inch deep in the soil. They should sit one to two inches apart. Aim to create rows 12 to 18 inches away from each other. Next, cover them with a light layer of soil.

Step Three: Care For Your Beets

Beet stem close-ups
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As your beets grow, water them regularly. Give them a good soak since they love moist soil. Aim for one inch of water per every square foot of your garden bed each week. 

Though it’s not necessary if you plan on using fertilizer but choose a low-nitrogen type. Too much nitrogen will encourage your beet leaves to grow large and abundant instead of the baby beets developing in the soil below.

Because beets are susceptible to leaf-miner insects, guard your plantings with a mesh cover. It will protect your beets from garden creatures, including rabbits who love to chew on beet leaves.

Pro Tip: Did you know that each beet seed contains several seeds inside of it? It means it will produce a few seedlings. Keep this in mind because once they start growing, you’ll need to pull out the thinnest ones to keep the remainder growing strong. Pull out the smallest plantings once they grow to an average of four to five inches tall. There should be three to four inches of space between each beet plant.

Step Four: Harvest & Enjoy

Harvested beets from the garden
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Your beets will be ready to harvest around two months after planting. You’ll know when it’s time once your beetroots grow to about the size of a golf ball, if not larger. 

When storing your beets, rinse off any excess soil and bring them inside. Keep fresh beets in the fridge for about a week. If you want your beets to last longer in the fridge, cut off the leaves. Just make sure to leave at least one inch of the stem in place. You can also use fresh beet leaves once they are at least six inches in length. They are nutrient-rich additions you can add to soups and salads.

You can also keep your beets in a dark basement or cellar. To help prevent them from going bad, bury them in dry sand and make sure they are well separated from one another.

Beets That Won’t Be Beat!

Once you have a taste of your freshly harvested beets, you’ll truly see why growing them is such a rewarding experience. Everything from their rich color to their sweet taste, and deep flavor, will motivate you to keep this veggie as a yearly garden staple. Just use these five steps as a guide to growing and caring for your beets this gardening season.

What variety will you be growing this year? Leave a comment below!