The Important Details You Need To Know About Growing Beets
Growing beets to make pickles might be one of my
favourite veggie garden activities. There's not many things
in the vegetable patch that are nicer than harvesting smaller roots and
taking them right to the kitchen for processing.
If you really like them, sow every two weeks from the earliest time you
can sow seeds in your garden until the middle of July.
The seed does not rot as quickly as more tender seed and it does start
to grow along with spinach, lettuce and peas (other early sown
vegetables). It will not grow if the soil is colder than 40F but will
sit until it warms up.
If you want to store or pickle them in the fall, count back 10 weeks
from your harvest date and plant the crop then.
Sow seed approximately 1/2 inch deep.
You can eat beet roots or leaves (great in salads)
How Much Seed to Sow:
One ounce (28 g) will grow 100 feet of row.
At 2-3 inch spacing, this translates to 400 plants in a 100 foot row.
If you are growing beets as tiny plants for pickling, shorten this
interval to 1 inch apart.
Lengthen or shorten the row depending on the number of vegetables
you're going to eat.
If you want extra early crops, you can sow them in a cold frame and
transplant to the garden but this is a lot of work and will only give
you a week to two week advantage over soil-sown plants.
While this may
have a commercial value, in the home garden it is a lot of work for
very little return.
Similarly, it is far cheaper to purchase seeds than to purchase starter
plants from a greenhouse. This plant is very easy to grow.
The seeds can be saved from year to year if you keep the seed dry and
cool. Do not freeze the seed.
When to Harvest:
Harvest (on average) when the tops are six inches tall. This will give
you the most tender root. If you leave the crop to get really big,
there is an increased risk of the root getting "woody" and not as sweet
If there are heavy rains after a long dry hot spell, you might find
white rings in the beet. It is still edible although not cosmetically
You can store the roots in the refrigerator for several months without
any loss of quality.
Got a comment? Click here for my forums and Q&A on my other website
Shopping Resources for this Page
Different varieties of beet seeds
You can find all of Doug's ebooks here