How to Grow Beets from Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide
Growing your own vegetables can be immensely satisfying, and beets are no exception. Whether you want to add more nutrition to your meals or simply make your garden more colorful, learning how to grow beets from seed is a great place to start. This article will guide you through a simple step-by-step process to growing beets successfully from seed.
Choosing Your Beet Seeds
Beets come in a variety of shapes and colors, from the familiar round, red beet to yellow or white cylindrical types. All varieties are easy to grow from seed, so choose the ones that most appeal to your taste. Additionally, remember to consider the beet’s maturity period which can range from 50 to 70 days.
Make your selection based on what you want to achieve. If your aim is to harvest quickly, then choose a variety with a short maturity period. If you want something more unique, go with a beet variety that is different from the usual round, red beet.
Preparing the Soil
Beets prefer well-drained, loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil is heavy clay or sandy, you can amend it with compost to improve its structure and fertility. Also, make sure your garden is in a location that receives full sun for at least 6 hours a day, as this is vital for their growth.
Before planting, till the top 8-10 inches of the soil to remove any rocks or clumps that may hinder the growth of the beet’s roots. A clean, well-prepared garden bed will make a big difference in the success of your beet harvest.
Planting the Seeds
Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in rows 12-18 inches apart. This spacing gives the beets enough room to grow and ensures maximum yield. Once you’ve sowed the beet seeds, cover them lightly with soil and water gently. Remember, the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
Beet seeds typically germinate in 10-14 days. After they sprout, thin the seedlings so they’re about 3-4 inches apart to allow for optimal growth.
Caring for Your Beet Seedlings
Once your seedlings emerge, they’ll need some care to ensure they grow into healthy, mature beets. Water your beets regularly to keep the soil consistently moist. If the soil dries out, your beets may become tough or woody.
Also, weed the area around the beet plants regularly. Beets don’t like competition, so keeping weeds at bay will help your beet plants flourish.
Harvesting and Storing Beets
You can begin harvesting beets when the roots are about 1.5 inches in diameter, typically 45-65 days after planting. To harvest, simply pull the entire plant out of the ground. Beets can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or you can preserve them by pickling or canning.
Small, young leaves can be harvested for salads or sautéing, but keep in mind that removing too many leaves can hinder the growth of the beet root. If the beet roots are to be stored for longer periods, they will keep best in a cool, moist, and dark environment such as a root cellar.