The best way to develop beets in your backyard

Beets are underestimated in the vegetarian world. These forgotten vegetables are never the focus of the product department, but beet puree can make a delicious dish that rivals mashed potatoes. These beautiful root vegetables can be prepared in a similar way to a potato, but with the benefit of fresh greens that can be enjoyed raw or sautéed. So let's learn how to grow beets for a bountiful harvest!

If you remember a bitter turnip, you may need to try a home-grown turnip. Younger tender roots and leaves are less bitter. As a gardener and cook, I like to experiment with harvesting beets at different stages of growth to see how the taste develops and when I prefer to eat the plant.

Growing beets is a great way to diversify your garden. Beets prefer the cool season and can be planted for a spring and fall harvest. It is a fast growing root crop valued for its dual use of edible roots and leaves. Soon you will be growing beets in your garden every year and cooking in place of your potato dishes. Or, for a fall harvest, try carving turnips into jack-o-lanterns instead of using a pumpkin for Halloween celebrations!

Good products on Amazon for growing beets:

Brief instructions for care

Learning how to grow beets will provide you with vegetables and root vegetables. Source: Sun Frog1

Common name (s) Turnip
Scientific name Brassica rapa subsp. rapa
Days to harvest 40-75 days
light Full sun, tolerates partial shade
water Constant, moist, 1 inch per week
ground Loose, fertile, well-drained clay soil
fertilizer Organic material or compost when sowing
Pests Aphids, flea beetles, root maggots and wireworms
Diseases Anthracnose, clubroot, white rust and beet mosaic virus

Everything about beets

Gold ball beetsGold Ball is a popular variety of yellow beet. Source: anneinchicago

Turnips, Brassica rapa subsp. rapa, comes from Eurasia and has been cultivated for thousands of years. The term "turnip" comes from the roundness of the plant, the curve is called the turn. Napus is the Latin term for turnip, which was abbreviated and summarized as turnip. A hearty Scottish dish is called neeps, which is made from pureed beets.

Turnips are valued for their roots and greenery. A tuft of leaves forms from a rosette base and can be over 12 inches long. The leaves are thin, light green with wavy or hairy edges. The taproot can range from creamy white to pale yellow, with the tip sticking out of the ground as it ripens. This is a biennial plant, so in the second year of growth it will produce and sow small yellow flowers.

After planting, the seeds will germinate and the seedlings will emerge in 7 days. Young green will be ready to harvest in a month. Small tender roots are ready in 5 weeks and the plant will reach full maturity within 2-3 months after planting.

The greens and roots are used in a number of dishes. Young fresh greens can be mixed with lettuce greens, or older leaves can be boiled. Roots can be boiled, roasted, baked, fried … there are lots of fun recipes to discover! I love making root roast by combining any root vegetables I have like sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and beets. Fry them in the oven until each vegetable is caramelized into a tender and delicious dish.

There are some varieties of beets such as the Purple Top White Globe, an heirloom variety valued for the beautiful purple tips on the root mass. Goldball beets are my favorite as they add color to dishes and have a sweet taste.

Plant beets

Turnip sproutsTurnip sprouts are tiny but sturdy little things. Source: Br3nda

When is the best time to plant beets? You can plant beets in early spring and late summer. This cool weather crop will be ready to harvest in late spring and fall. If you plan to plant after winter, sow beets 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area. When the last frost date is over, you should see seedlings appear. For an autumn harvest, plant beet seeds at least 2 months before the first frost date in your area. Planting in late summer is almost ideal in warm weather.

Where should I plant my beets? Beets grow best when sown directly in garden soil. They don't like it when their roots are disturbed, which means they don't do well as a transplant. Beets prefer deep, loamy soils and a sunny location. The seeds can be planted in the ground, in a raised bed, or in a large container (8-12 inches deep).

How do I plant beets? Scatter the beet seeds and cover them lightly with soil or sow them directly in the soil. Prepare rows 12 inches apart, with a slight groove for the seeds, which are ½ inch deep. Sow a seed 1 inch apart and cover it with soil. Once the plants are 4 inches tall, you can thin the seedlings to 4 to 6 inches apart. The thinned beets can be used for their greenery. For raised bed or container horticulture, you can sow 9 beets per square foot.


Hida Beni beetsHida Beni beets, a Japanese variety. Source: llee_wu

You want to provide the ideal location for your beet to grow optimally. Once the need for sunlight, water and temperature is met, you will find yourself with an abundant harvest!

Sun and temperature

Beets grow best in full sun with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. You can plant beets in USDA Zones 2-9. The ideal temperature for growing is between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to screwing. If you expect a change in the weather, you can shade your plants. A light frost for an autumn harvest can sweeten your harvests, but the deepest winter frost can cause damage. A heavy mulch can protect the roots along with a seasonal extension technique such as using a row cover.

Water and moisture

This plant thrives in moist soils. The best time of day to water the beets is in the morning and you should water the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil weekly. Aim at the base of the plant, under the leaves. Try to avoid letting the soil dry out completely as this will slow down the growth of your plants. Soaking tubes are effective.


Beets thrive best in loose, fertile and well-drained clay soil. To increase drainage for clay soils, add sand or perlite. Loosen the top 12 inches of soil and add a layer of compost. The ideal soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.


If you've added organic matter like compost to the soil, it should be enough fertilizer for the growing season. Alternatively, apply a 5-5-5 slow-release fertilizer to the soil before sowing the beet seeds. Avoid using a high nitrogen fertilizer as it will stimulate the growth of the greens instead of the root growth.


No pruning is required for growing beets. If you are harvesting beet greens, we'll cover that in the Harvest section below.


Beets are like radishes and can only be propagated from seeds.

Harvest and storage

Harvested beetsAfter harvesting, cut the greens from the beets before storing them. Source: Seacoast Eat Local

Now let's cover some methods of harvesting and storing your delicious beet crops. Keep in mind that beet greens and roots can become bitter and tough after they are harvested.


First, let's talk about beet greens. These greens can be harvested a month after the seeds are planted when the leaves are about 10 inches high and 5 inches in diameter. Use disinfected secateurs to trim the green an inch or two off the ground. The leaves will grow back and you can harvest more greens later in the season.

Young beet roots are ready for harvest within 5 weeks after planting. These roots will be very tender. Fully ripe beets are ready when they are 2 to 3 inches in diameter, which can be around 60-70 days after planting. Use a wide garden fork when harvesting beets to gently lift them out of the ground.


After washing, the kohlrabi can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. I like to put a coffee filter or paper towel in a plastic bag with the vegetables as they help absorb excess moisture.

To store beets, you should remove the leaves. Put your beets in the refrigerator for short-term storage up to 2 weeks. For long-term storage, find a cool, dark place like a root cellar. A beet root can last 3-5 months under these conditions. Another long-term storage solution is in the freezer. Boil the beets first, let them cool completely and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Beets growLarge beet roots are about to be harvested. Source: Clint Gardner

These cool season vegetables are fairly easy to care for with the right growing conditions. Since beet is a member of the Brassica vegetable family, there are some common growth problems, pests, and diseases that you may notice in your garden.

Growing problems

During root growth, the top of the beet can get sunburned. To remedy this, use mulch around your plants to protect the tips of these roots from direct sunlight.

Screwing in the first year is a great indicator of Ecological damage. Since beet plants are biennial, they are expected to flower and sow in the second year of growth. Extreme heat or too little water can cause a beet to shoot. Make sure you plan your planting for cool weather like spring or fall. Provide shade protection for your beets when temperatures start to rise.

Finally, keep the soil moist by watering it frequently every week. The roots and leaves can be hard and woody when there is not enough water.


There are a number of pests that are attracted to beets. Preventive measures to keep these pests out of your garden include using a row cover to cover the plants and applying diatomaceous earth around the root mass. Note that diatomaceous earth must stay dry to be effective against most pests. Therefore, this method is best used in combination with soaking hoses under mulch to keep the surface layer dry.

Aphids can be found on the underside of the leaf. The leaves can begin to droop when aphids are attacked. A severe aphid infestation can lead to the mosaic virus. The best organic remedies for getting rid of aphids are neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Flea beetle just like the leaves of the beet, which turn yellow and can turn brown when infected. Root maggots can be indicated by the presence of flies, and the leaves begin to wither and turn yellow. Wireworms Drill holes in the roots of the vegetables. All of these pests can be treated with organic pesticides that contain pyrethrin.


There are some diseases that can affect your beet crops as well. Preventive measures include regular crop rotation of all cabbage vegetables (including beets) and pest prevention to reduce disease transmission.

Anthracnose appears with gray to pale yellow sores on the leaves. Applying an organic copper-based fungicide can help treat this plant disease.

Club root, Plasmodiophora brassicae, causes deformities in the root. This disease can remain in your soil for over 10 years and affect almost all cabbage plants. Planting disease resistant varieties is the best choice. Additionally, increasing the pH of your growing medium has been shown to have some effect, as Clubroot thrives in slightly acidic soils.

White rust, Albugo Candida, causes white blisters on the underside of the leaves with spots on the top. There is no specific treatment for white rust, but this disease usually does not cause serious damage to the plant and the beets can still grow to maturity. Some fungicides used against downy mildew, such as copper fungicides, can clear out early outbreaks.

Mosaic virus is a serious disease and shows dead spots and yellow mosaics on the leaves. There is no treatment and it can spread between plants via aphids. Remove the infected plants from the garden and destroy them. Do not compost material infected with mosaic virus.

frequently asked Questions

Beet bedBeet greens can be harvested little by little, even as the roots develop. Source: renoir_girl

Q: How long does it take for turnips to grow?

A: This depends on what size and part of the plants you want to harvest … greens can be ready to harvest in a month, young tender roots in 5 weeks, and full-size mature roots in 60-70 days.

Q: Where do beets grow best?

A: In loose, fertile growing medium.

Q: can you grow a beet from a beet?

A: Beet greens can grow back from a beet, but that's all; the roots do not grow back. You can only propagate beet roots from seeds.

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