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Growing Beets

Growing Beets

Ruby queen Beet



Beets are an easy-to-grow, nutritious root vegetable. The leaves, or "tops" are also edible. Certain varieties of beets have been bred to have increased sugar content. These varieties are called sugar beets. Beet varieties originally developed for animal food are called mangels or mangelwurzel.

How to Grow

Direct sow beets in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked, 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. Plant the seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and expect germination in 14 to 21 days.

Each Beet "seed" is actually a woody structure containing several seeds, so plants should be thinned to 4 to 6 inches apart when plants reach a few inches tall. Space rows 12 to 18 inches apart. One seed packet plants approximately 20 to 30 feet of row, and 1 ounce of seed plants 100 feet.


Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Plant every 2 to 3 weeks through mid summer for a continued harvest. Roots can be harvested when they reach the size of golf balls as "baby" beets. Overly large roots can become somewhat tough and woody. Provide sufficient irrigation, especially during dry periods, to ensure the roots remain tender.

Beet greens have the best quality when harvested at 4 to 6 inches tall.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Beets are moderate feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. Use full rates of  ALGOplus All Purpose liquid fertilizer 6-6-6 or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.

Common Problems

Beets are usually not seriously troubled by insect pests or diseases. Aphids, flea beetles, and leaf miners sometimes attack plants. Leaf spot diseases can be an occasional problem.

Alternative Products

Other root vegetables include carrots, rutabagas, and turnips.

Product Recommendations

Use Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew or 70% neem oil to treat insect problems.

Beet Facts

Beets are classified as Beta vulgaris, the same species as Swiss chard. Beets were bred to produce a large root, while chard was selected for tender leaves.


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