How To Plant, Care For & Harvest Beets In Your Vegetable Garden
From starting beet seeds to harvesting, we share the best tips for growing your own beets. Whether you have raised garden beds or containers, growing beets is easy and you can enjoy a successful beet harvest with these expert tips.
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If your only experience with beets is from a can, it’s time to try fresh garden beets. Roast them with some olive oil and salt, steam them, or grate them in a salad and you’ll fall in love with the fresh, earthy, sweet flavor. They also come in a variety of colors, making an everyday side dish look stunning.
Beets are easy to grow in your vegetable garden. You can even eat the greens, and we toss them in salads along with other baby greens.
Prepare the soil Add compost and organic fertilizer.
Seed You can direct seed beets in your garden about 4 weeks before your average last frost. Each beet “seed” is actually a conglomerate of multiple seeds. However, beets are notorious for poor germination, so you still want to sow densely.
Plant Using your finger, a stick or a hoe handle, make a furrow ½” deep down the soil (the width of your raised garden bed). It’s recommended to plant beet seeds 1-2” apart, but we sow more densely and thin the seedlings to use as baby greens. Cover the beet seeds lightly with soil and sprinkle with water.
Final Spacing You want final plant spacing of at least 4 inches.
Tip Since beets tolerate both heat and cold, and grow pretty quickly, they’re the perfect crop for succession planting. Sow a new crop every 2-3 weeks throughout the season to have a continuous supply.
You can harvest beets when the root is about the size of a golf ball or larger. Small beets can be grated or shaved and used directly in salads, and are also tasty steamed. They have a nice, sweet flavor at this size. Loosen the soil around the beet with your finger and gently pull it from the soil.
If you want large bulbs, watch them over a week or so to see when they’ve stopped getting larger. Once the beets achieve maximum size, they can be harvested and stored indoors for a lengthy period (if storing for a longer time, let the soil dry and brush it off before storing; otherwise, wash off the dirt and prepare for eating).
Beets also do fine if you just leave them in the garden and harvest over a period of several weeks. If you leave them too long they can supposedly become tough, but we rarely have this problem.
Harvest the beet greens at almost any time, beginning when thinning seedlings. Take one or two mature leaves per plant, until leaf blades are more than 6 inches tall and become tough.
In the video below, Jeremy shows you our harvesting strategy for lettuce, but the same thinning strategy applies to baby beet greens as well.