Now more than ever, you want to incorporate as many healthy food sources as possible into your diet.
For its numerous health benefits and unique earthy flavor, you will never go wrong adding beets to your dishes.
And you know what’s even better? They are also among the easiest root crops to grow!
It all starts with learning when to plant beets.
Beets are root crops that like the cold, so you’ll have the best chance of growing them if you plant them in spring or fall. Those from the South could even grow them all winter long. Basically, you can begin planting beets as soon as soil temperatures read at least 40 F.
Planting Beets in Different Climates
As with any crop, the first thing you have to think about is whether the climate in your area offers a suitable condition for your chosen crop.
In case you don’t know, sandy soil will warm faster than heavier soil.
For this reason, you would want to make sure you’re using the right kind of soil to match the climate in your area.
Beets grow and thrive in full sun or partial shade, but they do not particularly enjoy the heat.
Those from the Tropical and Coastal South will then have to plant beets as a winter crop instead.
Usually, these areas pertain to growing zones tagged as USDA 9 to 11.
It will be challenging to grow any crop if you live in an area with a dry climate.
When it comes to growing beets, you have to remember not to allow the soil to dry out.
The extreme temperatures between night and day might also not be suitable for most plants.
The soil’s temperature plays a significant role in whether or not your beets will grow healthy.
You’ll have the best chance of growing them if you live in an area with temperatures averaging between 50 and 80 F.
Continental and Polar Climates
The best approach to growing beets in these climates is to make sure you plant them in a highly controlled environment.
Essentially, this means making use of a greenhouse so that you can adjust the temperature, humidity, lighting, ventilation, and more.
Again, the most important consideration is to make sure the soil is around 40 F to give the seeds the conditions they prefer.
Choosing Beet Seeds
As mentioned, beetroots are hardy root crops that are easy to grow.
Depending on your gardening skills, you can choose to plant beets from seeds or seedlings.
There’s plenty of varieties you can try growing, too.
It will all depend on the flavor profile and look you want your beets to have.
Many homesteaders prefer the Boltardy variety, which is the most common beetroot cultivar there is.
It bears globe-shaped roots that are deep red in color and have a sweet flavor profile.
If you want something that won’t bleed through your salads, choose the golden or white varieties.
Keep in mind, though, that they would take longer to grow than their carmine-colored counterparts.
If you lack garden space, you can grow round beetroot varieties in pots instead.
Make sure you pick out containers that are eight inches deep and around eight inches in diameter to give them enough room to fully mature.
How To Plant Beet Seeds
Once you’ve made your pick, you can go ahead and prepare for planting.
Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow for planting beet seeds:
Step 1: Ready the soil.
Before planting the seeds or seedlings, you would want to double-check if the soil is ready.
Remove soil, weeds, and other debris that would hinder the roots from growing.
You also want to till the soil and rake over the entire area to loosen it up.
As with any plant, make sure you use a well-draining mix to protect the roots from rotting.
The soil should also have a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, which means you need to use loamy, acidic soil.
For rocky, alkaline, heavy clay, or hard soils, add an inch or more compost to the mix.
You can also mix in a small amount of potassium-rich wood ash to promote the growth and development of healthy roots.
Step 2: Sow the seeds/Plant the seedlings.
If you live up in the North, only sow beetroot seeds once the last frost is over.
Those from the South can do so anytime from September to February.
To plant beetroots, till the soil to about a spade blade deep.
Roughly speaking, this is about two centimeters or ¾ inch to one inch deep.
For the roots to have enough room to grow, plant each seed or seedling at least 10 to 15 centimeters apart or around four to six inches.
Step 3: Water them.
After planting, give them a good amount of watering to kick-start the germination process.
How To Water Beets
In the right conditions, your seeds will turn into seedlings and then form roots.
These roots will then take nutrients from the soil through regular watering, so make sure you follow the steps below.
Step 1: Water daily after planting.
In the beginning, you will have to water your beetroot plants daily.
With a regular supply of nutrients from the water, they will soon begin to sprout and show leaves.
This is the time when you can say for sure that your beetroot plants are already established.
Step 2: Water every 10 to 14 days once leaves start to show.
When your beets have sprouted, dial down the watering to around 10 days to two weeks.
In fact, you will only need to water them during dry spells.
If the weather permits, your area’s normal rainfall should be enough to give your beetroot plants the hydration they need.
Overwatering may encourage too much leaves growth and fewer roots.
It increases the risks of “bolting,” which means the plants will flower but won’t particularly produce vegetables.
On the other hand, not enough hydration will result in woody roots.
How To Grow Beets
Planting the seeds in soil and giving them enough water cover only the basics.
There are many more tips and tricks you can implement to ensure the healthy growth of your beet plants.
What’s interesting about this crop is that you can grow them directly in your garden or use pots.
Here’s a list of expert advice that every beginner should keep in mind:
Tip 1: Thin them out.
Each beetroot “seed” has about two to 4 seeds, so you will have to thin your plants to promote healthy growth.
To make sure only the strongest seedlings mature into full-grown plants, cut out the weak seedlings after sprouting.
Don’t pull them out from the soil so as not to damage the roots of the stronger sprouts.
Do this up until each plant is about 10 centimeters away from each other or more.
Tip 2: Protect from pests and remove weeds.
As they grow, your beetroot plants become a target of birds and other pests.
Therefore, it would be best if you cover them with some sort of protection.
Also, make sure that you get rid of any weed cropping up, as they will only compete with your beetroot plants for nutrients.
If you can, do this by hand so that you don’t accidentally damage your beets’ roots.
Tip 3: Fertilize!
If you’re new to gardening, you might not know about the basics of fertilizing your crops yet.
Always choose organic fertilizer. Not only will it ensure your plants are healthy but also keep the soil rich for more planting seasons to come.
Depending on your preferences, you can use liquid organic fertilizer or organic matter like well-rotted manure and compost.
If you decide to use nitrogen to boost growth, double-check the correct measurements.
Too much nitrogen will result in too many leaves but fewer roots.
How Long Does It Take for Beets To Grow?
The final stage is knowing when to harvest beets.
You will know that your beetroots are ready for harvesting when they are about the size of an orange.
Given the right conditions, beetroots will mature and be ready for harvesting in around two months.
During this time, the root crop should measure around an inch in diameter.
If you want them to grow even bigger, harvest some of the beetroots now and leave the others to mature.
Do not allow them to grow too large, or they will lose their sweetness.
Usually, those that are three inches in diameter have the sweetest flavor.
Like sweet potatoes, turnips, and radishes, beets are delicious root crops packed with nutrients essential to our body’s wellness.
Adding them to your diet ensures you have a flavorful source of vitamin C and B9 as well as fiber, iron, potassium, and manganese.
Basically, these will help your body achieve better blood circulation and increase your overall physical performance.
If you ask us, these benefits are more than enough reason to plant them in our gardens come springtime.