Beets

beets

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Beets

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Beets are a reliable crop for our gardens because they are simple to cultivate and yield delicious roots in a short amount of time. Because their green tops can also be consumed, this crop can serve two purposes. Find out everything you need to know about growing beets, from planting to harvesting the crop.

Concerning Beets

Beets, also known as "beetroots," are vibrant crops that thrive during the fantastic season. They are simple to cultivate from seed in soil that has been appropriately prepared and grow very fast when exposed to direct sunlight.

Because they are resistant to frost and temperatures that are very close to freezing, they are an excellent option for gardeners in northern regions. Because of this, they are also a perfect crop for the fall.

It is best to start growing vegetables with bolt-resistant varieties, which are less likely to bolt, or mature too quickly when exposed to warm temperatures. There are wide beet varieties, each of which can have deep red, yellow, white, or striped roots and can also be of varying shapes.

Harvesting beetroots begins when they are approximately the size of a golf ball and continues until they reach the size of a tennis ball. Roots that are larger than a tennis ball may become tough and woody. In addition, beet greens have a delicious and unique flavor and are a source of even more nutrients than the roots themselves.

planing beets

Planting

Select a planting spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight. In a perfect world, they should be exposed to at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.

Although they thrive in well-prepared, fertile soil, beets can survive in soils ranging from average to low in fertility. The ideal pH range for soil is between 6.0 and 7.0, although slightly alkaline soils (7.0+) can also be tolerated if they are slightly acidic. Beets cannot survive in too acidic soils (pH below 6.0). The soil must be devoid of rocks and other impediments to developing the round beetroots properly.

Because Swiss chard and spinach are related to beets and are susceptible to the same kinds of pests and diseases, you should avoid planting beets in areas where these other vegetables have recently been grown.

plant beets

When Should Beets be Planted?

  • We must complete the first planting of beets in early spring, as soon as the soil is planted. Sow new seeds at regular intervals of two to three weeks until midsummer.
  • As long as daytime temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), successive plantings can continue throughout the summer.
  • Germination can take place anywhere from 5 to 8 days in soil that is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in temperature. Germination could take anywhere from two to three weeks in soil that is colder than that.
  • It is recommended to soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting to hasten the germination process or plant in regions that receive a low amount of moisture and rainfall.
  • Plant beet seeds from the middle of summer until early fall for a harvest in the autumn. Begin planting the seeds approximately four to six weeks before the first fall frost.
  • In zones nine and warmer, the cultivation of winter crops is a real possibility. Planting beets in the early to late fall will ensure a harvest in the winter.

The Procedure for Planting Beets

The Procedures for Planting Beets

  • We like to plant beet seeds directly in the garden so that we don't have to mess with the roots of the plants. In contrast to many other root crops, beets can survive being transplanted while they are still relatively young. However, because they can stay in colder environments, beets are typically easy to start growing outdoors.
  • We sow the seeds in rows about 12 to 18 inches apart and a half inch deep, leaving 1 to 2 inches between each row. After planting the seeds, we must put a skinny layer of soil on top of them.
  • Germination is most effective when the soil remains moist. Soak the seeds for twenty-four hours before planting them to hasten the germination process.

Watch this video to get a better understanding of how to plant beets.

Growing Beets from Sowing to Harvest

Starting to Grow

  • Because each "seed" of wrinkled beets is a cluster of two to four seeds, you will need to thin out the young plants to a distance of three to four inches once the greens reach a height of approximately four to five inches. Because of this, their roots can grow to the appropriate size.

Tip: Do not pull up the plants when you are thinning them out because you risk accidentally disturbing the roots of the beets you want to keep. Instead, snip or pinch the greens of the stems (and eat them).

  • After mulching, water the plant consistently with approximately 1 inch per square foot each week. Beets require a consistent supply of a large amount of moisture for optimal growth.
  • Be careful around young plants and remove weeds as needed; beets have shallow roots that are easily uprooted. Beets are root vegetables.
  • It is a good idea to cover beets with a row cover to stop pests such as leaf miners from eating the leaves of the plants.
  • You are adding more fertilizer than what is required is not typically necessary. If you decide to fertilize, use only a tiny amount of nitrogen because too much of it will result in an abundance of greens but only a few small bulbs below the soil.

Suggested Varieties

Best Beet Varieties

Beets can be found in various shapes and colors across the color spectrum. The typical color is dark red, but there are also yellow and white varieties and ringed red and white ones (like the ones pictured below)!

  • "Chioggia" refers to the red skin of the fruit, which, when cut open, reveals white and red concentric rings.

  • The dependable and time-honored variety is known as "Detroit Dark Red." The root is round and red.
  • "Formanova" refers to long, cylindrical beets that develop in a manner analogous to that of carrots. Excellent for preserving food in jars.
  • 'Bolder' and 'Touchstone Gold' are two examples of yellow varieties.

  • 'Avalanche' and the Dutch heirloom 'Albino' are both examples of white varieties.

Harvesting

Harvesting

  • The average number of days needed to reach maturity for most varieties is between 55 and 70. To put it another way, you should plan to harvest the beets approximately two months after planting them.
  • Roots are ready to be harvested when they reach the size of a golf ball or larger; substantial sources may become tough and woody.
  • Loosen the soil around the beet, then carefully lift it up and away from the ground.
  • You can harvest the beet greens almost any time, starting when the seedlings are being thinned out. Remove one or two mature leaves from each plant every few weeks until the leaf blades reach a height of more than six inches and become robust. (Roots cannot ultimately form without the presence of greens, so maintaining some of them is essential for healthy development.)
store beets

How to Store Beet

  • Beets that are still fresh can be kept in the refrigerator for anywhere between five and seven days.
  • Be sure to trim the tops off your beets so they stay fresher for longer. Keep the beet greens in a separate container from the beets themselves and leave about an inch of stem on each beet.
  • When storing roots in a root cellar for an extended period, brush off any soil still clinging to the sources, then bury them in layers (but not touching), surrounded by dry sawdust or sand.
  • Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to use. A closet that is not heated could work, or you could put them in a cooler in your basement. Find out more information about an innovative method of storing beets in the root cellar.
  • The presence of sprouts indicates improper storage and ultimately results in spoilage.
  • Additionally, beets can be preserved by freezing, canning, and pickling.

Wisdom and Creativity

  • For a very long time, beets have been thought of as an aphrodisiac:
  • The ancient Greeks believed that their goddess of love, Aphrodite, wore these as adornments to make her more beautiful.
  • The ancient Romans believed that drinking beet juice could stimulate sexual desire.

Pest and Diseases

Pests and Diseases That Affect Beets

pets and disease

 

Pest/DiseaseTypeSymptomsControl/Prevention
Leaf spot caused by CercosporaThe fungusThe Cercospora prefers hot, humid conditions and damp nights, so the environment should be warm and humid. On leaves that enlarge and turn gray, there are many small brown spots with red-purple halos;ensure good air circulation, the centers of the sites eventually fall out, leaving the halos behind.Rotate crops; destroy infected plants; weed; avoid overhead watering; ensure good air circulation.
A virus that causes cucumber mosaicsThe virusThere may be stunted, a mottled green/yellow/white pattern on the leaves, or ringed spots on the leaves; the growth of the leaves may be distorted.Among the steps to be taken to prevent the spread of CMV is to destroy infected plants; choose resistant varieties and seed that is virus-free; use row covers; disinfect tools; weed; control aphids (carriers of CMV); use mulch.
The flea beetleInsectLeaves with numerous tiny holes as if shotgun bullets struck them.Use row covers; mulch heavily; add native plants to invite beneficial insects.
It's the leafhoppersAn insect

There are white shed skins on the undersides of the leaves (from nymphs molting); stippling (many tiny marks) on the leaves; "hopper burn" (leaves that are yellow or brown, curled, or stunted); and reduced yield as a result.


 

By spraying solid streams of water onto leaf undersides, nymphs will be knocked off; use row covers; monitor adults using yellow sticky traps; weed; destroy crop residues at the end of the season.
The leaf minersAn insectTunneling larvae cause meandering blisters on leaves caused by their tunneling activity.Use row covers, remove infested leaves, till the soil early in the season, and rotate crops..
The wirewormAn insect

Seeds hollowed out; 

seedlings severed; stunting/wilting; roots eaten; tubers/bulbs bored.



 

In 2 to 4-inch-deep holes every 3 to 10 feet, fill with a mixture of germinating beans, corn, or peas, cover with soil or a board, and in a week, uncover and kill worms; sow seeds in warm mud to ensure quick germination; provide good drainage; remove plant debris; rotate crops

beet soup

Recipe List

  • Beet soup is a beautiful soup.
  • Pickled beets from Grandma's garden

Aunt Nellie's Sliced Pickled Beets 16 oz (Pack of 12)
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Notes on Cooking

The Health benefits of beets are considered to be exceptionally high because they are nutrient-dense