How to Grow Beets
Packed with antioxidants, these colorful root vegetables are making a healthy addition to plates and plots.
- beet seeds
- well-rotted garden compost or manure
- garden shovel
- watering can
- insecticide (optional)
Step 1: Sow Seeds
Beet seeds are covered in chemicals that prevent them from germinating, which should be removed by soaking them for an hour prior to sowing. Sow outdoors in patio planters in early spring, 1-inch deep, 4 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart. Cover the planted seeds with 1 inch of compost, and water them in well.
Step 2: Keep Compost Moist
Beet seeds germinate about a week after sowing. Keep the compost moist, and site the container in a sunny location. Protect against aphids, which suck sap, weakening the plants and slowing growth. Spray heavy infestations with a suitable insecticide. Leaf-mining fly larvae can also cause problems by feeding within the foliage, causing brown blotches. Remove infested leaves since there are no chemical controls available.
Step 3: Harvest Crops
Depending on variety, harvest after 6-8 weeks, and resow a second or third crop. Water regularly during the summer to prevent them from bolting (running to seed). Weed around them carefully by hand — a nick on the roots with a trowel or hoe will damage them and cause them to bleed. For the best flavor, pull roots when they are golf-ball sized, first loosening the soil with a hand fork. As an extra crop, you can also harvest the young leaves, but pick sparingly to avoid checking growth.