How to Grow Beets From Seeds

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To grow beets is to put color in your garden and great flavor on your table. Both the greens and the root of the plant are edible and both are a good source of vitamins and nutrients. There are so many ways to prepare beets that surely there are recipes to satisfy even picky eaters. Like carrots and turnips, beets must be grown from seed, a simple process that requires just a few basics: fresh seed, cool weather and moist, well worked soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Beet seed
  • Loosen the soil where you intend to plant the beets, working it deeply to allow for the development of the root. Do this early in the spring -- up to 30 days before the last average date of frost -- as beets grow best in cool weather. Make sure that the area receives full sun.

  • Add compost to enrich soil of poor fertility. Having your garden soil tested at a county extension office is the best means of learning what amendments, if any, the soil requires. Beets need only average fertility, but an annual dressing of compost is a welcome addition to any vegetable garden.

  • Sow the seed about an inch apart at a depth of approximately 1/2 inch. Sowing in rows 12 to 18 inches apart is the traditional method, but you can also plant beets in more concentrated blocks of the garden as long as the plants have room to grow. Consider sowing the seed at two-week intervals, rather than planting it all at once. Firm the soil and water the area using a sprinkling device like a watering can or a watering wand that attaches to the end of the hose, rather than a strong jet of water that may unearth the seed.

  • Water the seed consistently, especially if it fails to rain. Beets require moist, but not wet, soil to germinate. Don't be surprised if the beets take a while to germinate; 14 days is not unusual. A thick crust on top of the soil can inhibit germination. If this is a problem, use a very light layer of mulch (dried grass clippings, for example) on top of the soil.

  • Thin the seedlings to 3 inches apart when they reach 1 to 3 inches in height. The young greens make a tasty addition to salads. Failure to thin properly is a common cause of an unsuccessful beet crop.

  • Harvest beets when they are from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Read the seed label to ensure you're picking at the right time for your variety of beets.

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References

  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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