Thinking about how to to grow beets? Beets are quite easy to grow, growing best in cool temperatures. The entire beet plant can be eaten, and is a rich source of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. The tops can be harvested while the plant is young and the leaves will be tender to eat. Beet roots can be served shredded, canned, pickled, juiced, or boiled, and are a commonly served as a side dish or in soup or salad.
Growing beets requires little garden space, and as previously mentioned, beets grow well in the cooler temperatures of spring or late summer. Growing beets in hot weather will produce tough roots.
Ensure that you clear the soil of rocks, so that the formation of the roots will not be inhibited. Growing beets is best accomplished in soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. To prepare the soil, a garden fork can be used to pry up the soil and mix with lime (wood ashes contain lime) or potash (reduces acidity). Mix well with the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches at least a week before planting beets.
Beets will mature in 55-70 days, allowing multiple plantings within one growing season. If you live in an area with cool summers (average less then 26°C/80°F), you can keep planting beets successively every 3 weeks for a continuous harvest.
Beets are best sown in early spring or late summer. In spring, beets should be planted approximately two weeks before the final frost. For a Fall harvest, beets should be planted 10-12 weeks before the first frost of Fall. Beets can withstand cool temperatures, and a mild frost, but will grow best when the soil temperature is 10-26°C/50-80°F. If the temperature remains below ~5°C/41°F for several weeks, the beet plants will begin to bolt.
Below are the general guidelines for planting beets:
When learning how to grow beets it is important to know that beets require a lot of water. Beets will do best if the ground is kept constantly moist (but no puddling). Once the seedlings sprout, a light layer of straw, grass clippings, or mulch can be added around the beets to help keep the the moisture in, the weeds out.
Weeds will slow the growth of beets causing them to be tough and woody. Weed by hand to ensure that the roots are not damaged, and weed often and early.
The joy of having learning how to grow beets is seeing harvest season approach! If you wish to harvest the tops before the roots are ready, do so selectively, taking only a few leaves from each plant so that the root can continue to grow. Beets can be harvested at any point, but are usually best once the root has reached 1-3 inches in diameter. Once the growing beets reach a size greater than this, they will become fibrous.
To harvest beets, pull the root from the ground. Cut the tops off approximately 1-2 inches above the root to prevent color bleed and loss of moisture. Wash the beets well in cool water. At this point they can be stored in a cool location for several months.