If you want to experiment with growing your own vegetables, growing beets from seed can be a rewarding experience. You will only need to follow some simple guidelines to get good crops of these hardy root vegetables. Root vegetables mean the root of the plant is the part of the plant that is eaten. The tops of the beets can also harvested and used in many recipes.
You can plant this hardy vegetable as soon as the air temperature reaches 40 degrees, although the seed may take a little long to germinate. If you want to be surer about germination, wait until it reaches 50 degrees.
These vegetables need only 50-55 days to achieve a harvestable size, so you can plant these in succession. This means when growing beets from seed, that you can plant them about every three weeks, for several harvests in a row, so that you will be able to enjoy these vegetables for a longer time.
However, about 80 degrees the beets do not do well. Enjoy several plantings in the spring, timing the last planting so it reaches a harvestable stage before the temperature rises too high. Then, in the fall, plant again, in succession planting, several weeks apart, timing the last planting to allow the beets to reach the harvest size in time to avoid the first hard freeze.
When growing beets from seed, they will need a light soil that drains water well. Since it is the root of the beet that you are growing and then harvesting, if the soil has too much clay, or is too hard for other reasons, the root is not able to grow and expand. If the soil is too heavy, it can be lightened by mixing in leaves or moss. Builders sand can also be mixed in with the soil to break it up.
The ph on the soil should be between 6.5 and 7.5. If the soil is too acidic, the beets may be bitter and stunted, and could develop black spot.
Soils in new gardens may lack bacterial life that older gardens do, so add organic materials to your garden each year. There are also bacterial amendments you can add to your soil to help it develop.
Planting Depth and Spacing when growing Beets from seed
When planting early in the season, plant at a depth of ½ inch. As the season advances, plant later groups of seeds at a depth one inch. Plant the last harvest of the year at a depth of ½ inch.
You can plant these in several ways. Some gardeners prefer the traditional row planting. You can sprinkle the seed in a row, and then later as the seeds sprout, thin until each plant is about 3 inches apart. You can take care to space the seeds farther apart to cut down on the thinning work. Other gardeners also plant in a plot of several square feet, instead of rows, to get a good yield out of a smaller area. Again, with the plot method, thin down the seedlings to the plants are about 3 inches apart, and you can space the seeds to cut down on thinning.
Harvest when the root is 1 ¼ inches to 1 ½ inches. The beets will last at least 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. Many people find the beets will last longer. If you are planning several harvests from succession planting, have a method of storing in mind and be ready to go. The beets can be frozen or canned for use in the off-season.
Growing beets from seed can be a great addition to your gardening efforts, or a great beginning if you do not garden yet.