Vegetable Overview: Beets



Discover how to grow beets with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, pests and disease, and harvesting and storage.


Beets Stats at a Glance

Soil Conditions: Loose, well-drained

Sun: Full sun

Soil pH Conditions: 6.2-6.8

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Beets from Seed?

As a root vegetable, seeds should direct sown into the garden from seed.


When to Start Seeds: As soon as the soil can be worked following the last frost.

Time to Germination: 5-8 days


When Do I Plant Beets?

Beets perform best in cooler weather.  Sow seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.  Planting early will allow the roots to establish prior to the heat of summer.  Beets will germinate in temperatures between 40-90°F.  Optimal soil temperature for germination is 55-75°F.

Soil Temperature: 55-75°F.


Where Do I Plant Beets?

Beets prefer soil that is loose and well drained.  Rocks and debris must be removed from the soil as this can hinder vegetable development.

Beets do not perform well in soils with low pH levels.  Optimal pH levels are between 6.2 and 6.8, but they will tolerate pH levels as high as 7.5.

Soils with a pH level of 6.0 or lower will need to be amended.

Soil Type: Loose, well-drained

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.2-6.8


How Far Apart Do I Plant Beets?

Prepare rows that are 18” apart.  Sow the seeds ½” inch deep at one-inch intervals.  When the seedlings are a few inches tall thin to allow 3-4” between plants.

Beets Plant Care and Maintenance

How Often Should I Water Beets?

Soil water moisture must remain constant for the highest quality vegetable development.  Allowing the soil to dry out will affect the development of the beet.


Should I Fertilize Beets?

Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained, a 5-10-10 fertilizer can be worked into the soil prior to planting.  Additional fertilizer can be added when the plants reach at least three inches.

Adding too much nitrogen to the soil will encourage the development of the greens at the expense of the fruit development.


Additional Tips

Adding a layer of mulch to the beet garden bed is beneficial and highly recommended.  The mulch will help to retain consistent soil moisture as well as suppress weeds that may compete with root development.

Hand pull weeds that development in the beet garden as more aggressive cultivation could harm the plant roots.

Beets Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include Cercospora leaf spot, root rots, scab.

Beets Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners, and webworms.

Harvesting and Storing Beets

When Do I Harvest Beets?

Beets are most tender when they reach 1-1/2- 2 inches in diameter.

Beet greens are most tender and flavorful when 4-6” tall.


How Do I Harvest Beets?

Pull the beets from the ground by grabbing the greens.  Cut the greens from the beet leaving an inch or two to prevent the beet from bleeding during cooking.


How Do I Store Beets?

Store at 40°F and high humidity for maximum freshness and to prevent wilting.

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