How to Grow Beets

Don’t you just love the earthy taste of beets? Beets are another easy to grow vegetable. And did you know that the leaves of beets are also edible? It’s a two-crops-in-one plant!

Let’s find out how to grow beets:

How to grow beets

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Planting, Growing & Harvesting Beets

The botanical name for beets is Beta vulgaris.

Optimum growing conditions

Beets will grow in just about any climate, but in Zone 8 and warmer, grow them in the fall or winter. They do not like hot weather, so if your summers are hot and steamy, do an early spring sowing and a late summer/early fall sowing. Beets prefer a soil ph of 6.0 – 7.5.

Best varieties to plant

Varieties are available in the common round shape, but are also available in cylindrical shape, and in colors of deep red, striped and even golden!

Some of my favorites are: Detroit Dark Red (a traditional round, deep red beet); Chioggia (round, with red outside, but has circular stripes inside); and Golden Detroit (pictured below).

Check in these seed & plant catalogs to find a variety or two that you want to grow.

Golden beets - how to grow beets
Golden Detroit Beets

How to grow beets

Sow seeds directly into the garden in an area that gets full sun – as early as a month before your last frost date for a spring sowing, and late summer/early fall for a late fall/early winter harvest.

Be sure to dig the area deeply, and remove all rocks and clods of soil, as these will make it difficult for the beets to grow.

Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for a few hours before sowing in the garden.

Beet seeds are compound – meaning several plants will grow from one seed. Therefore, you should also sow the seeds a little on the light side so you won’t have so many to thin out later on. But when you do have to thin, remember that the greens are edible, and are great raw in a salad, or lightly steamed like spinach.

Keep your beet plants well watered.

How to grow beets - young beet greens
Beet greens are delicious!

Diseases, pests & problems

If you see leaf miners or flea beetles on your beets, row covers will help protect your plants. Also, do not plant beets where you have planted Swiss chard or spinach in the previous season.


Harvest the greens as soon as you can, and you can pick a few leaves off of each plant throughout the growing season without harming the plant.

Pull the beets up when they are about 1″ or so round, for “baby beets”. Or wait a little longer for regular sized beets.

When you pull them, cut the greens off and leave about 1″ of leaf stem attached to the top of the beet. This will keep the beet from “bleeding” red. Store the greens in the fridge, and cook within a few days.

Beets can be stored in the fridge, or immersed in sand or sawdust and kept in a cool place.