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9 Tips for Growing Beets

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

I list beets as one of the 11 easiest vegetables to grow in Canada. Beets are a perfect addition for those of us gardening in the zone 3 gardening climate as they prefer cold weather to hot. Beet plants are rarely bothered by pests or diseases and need little care besides thinning and regular watering. Let's look at some easy tips for growing beets from seed in your in-ground garden, raised bed or in containers.

Tip #1. Direct Sow Beet Seeds

When to plant beet seeds

My first tip for growing beets from seed is to direct sow your seeds into your garden. They do not transplant well and tolerate frost and cold weather well. Plant beet seeds directly into your garden or container soil up to a month before your last expected spring frost.

Tip #2. Plant Beet Seeds in Rich, Loose, Well Drained Soil

Add compost to your soil prior to planting your beet seeds. Beets grow quickly in rich, loose soil. Do not fertilize once planted. Adding nitrogen once beet plants are growing will cause tops to grow large while the bottoms remain small.

Tip #3. Plant Beet Seeds Where They Will Get 6 Hours of Sunlight or More

Although beets like cooler temperatures and thrive in 10 - 18 degree C (50 - 65F) temperatures they do not do well with less then 6 hours of sunlight. Plant your beets in an area where they will get 6 or more hours of sunlight each day.

Tip #4. How to Plant Beet Seeds

Plant beet seeds about one inch apart and one inch deep in rows 10 inches apart near the end of April. If you are planting beets later than mid May, beet seeds can be soaked for 24 hours for faster germination.

My favorite variety of beets to grow are the classic Detroit Dark Red beets or golden beets.

Beet seeds in the palm of a hand about to be planted in May in a zone 3 vegetable garden in Calgary Alberta Canada.

Tip #5. Water Beets Consistently

Water beets as needed. To check on soil moisture dig down with your finger. When soil is dry past your middle knuckle (or more than 1 to 2 inches down) it is time to water. Mulch can be placed around plants after thinning to help conserve moisture.

Tip #6. Thin Your Beets

Thin beets when they are 2 to 3 inches high, leaving a plant every 4 to 6 inches. Pulling out tiny plants can seem so hard but trust me, it will greatly improve the health and size of the remaining plants.

Tip #7. When to Harvest Beets

Beets are most tender when they are young. Beets can be harvested once they are 2.5 inches in diameter. To check how large your beets are you can gently remove the surface of the soil from around them. Beets can handle freezing temperatures of up to -10 degrees Celsius (14 F) and can be left in the ground until late fall. Some people use a cold frame over their beets and harvest them into the winter months.

Tip #8. How to Prepare Beets for Cooking or Canning

Always leave at least 1/2 inch of stems on top of the beet and do not trim the root right up to the beet. Doing so will cause the beet to bleed, losing flavor and moisture. Beet tops can be eaten too! We love them cooked with butter and a little balsamic vinegar. Cooked beet tops taste especially amazing topped with goat cheese.

Tip #9. Storing Beets

Beets can be cooked and frozen (I vacuum seal mine), canned or kept in a fridge or cold room. A family favorite in our house is pickled beets!

Companion Plants for Beets

Beets return manganese and iron to the soil. Beets do well planted near carrots, corn, cucumbers, bush beans, brassicas, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks or lettuce. Avoid planting near dill or pole beans.

Print of my easy to follow, complete companion planting guide to help you plan your garden.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for growing beet from seed and have found some information that will help you to grow your garden beets.

If you have found this article helpful and would like to see more gardening tips and tricks, subscribe to my blog (the bottom of the home page) and follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and/or YouTube!

Tips for growing beets from seed with beets in a basket and a beet growing in a zone 3 vegetable garden in Calgary Alberta.


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