How to Grow Beets

Olivia Bradley, Staff Writer

Beets should be planted from seed, directly into the garden. Each beet seed is actually a hard little cluster of two to four seeds. It takes several days or even a week for the outer seed coat to soften and allow the seeds inside to germinate. It’s important to keep the soil consistently moist during this period. Once the seeds have germinated, you will need to thin out some of the extra seedlings, ideally you’ll wind up with about nine plants per square foot.

Like most vegetables, beets prefer growing in full sun and they like to get about one inch of water each week. Beets are cold tolerant, so they can be planted in early spring, several weeks before the last frost date. To keep the soil consistently moist during germination, cover the area with row cover until the seedlings break the soil surface.

Early season crops such as lettuce and peas can be replaced by a midsummer planting of beets. A fall crop of beets will tolerate temperatures down to about twenty degrees. As temperatures continue to fall, you can cover the area with row cover fabric to prevent the roots from freezing. Beets can also be harvested and stored indoors for a month or more. Trim off the leaves, keeping a ½ inch tuft of stems at the top of the root. Gently brush off any soil, put the beets into a plastic bag, and store them in your refrigerator crisper.