If you’ve never liked beets before, don’t let it stop you from trying your own home grown ones.   The roots are colorful and delicious fresh roasted with other winter roots.  The greens are wonderful in salads or

cooked like spinach.




            Height: 6-12 inches

            Spread: 4-8 inches



            GREENS- may be snipped and eaten when 4-8 inches

            ROOTS- are best when picked  2-4, Red Ace inches



Propagation: seed.


Seed vitality: 4 years





Light requirement: Full sun. Roots won’t develop properly in partial shade.


Frost tolerance: Hardy.  Not injured by light frost and will tolerate some freezing


Soil pH range: 5.8-6.3.  May appear stunted if outside this range


Soil prep: To prepare bed, remove rocks and mix manure/compost to 9 inches. May mix in 1 Cup of wood ashes per 10 foot row to prevent root maggots.


Container growing: 12 inches wide and deep





Spring planting time:

                        Indoors: 5 weeks before last frost  (start around Feb 8 in Crestview)

                        Outdoors: may sow outdoors 2-4 weeks before average last frost (around Feb 21-Mar 1)


Autumn planting time: 8-10 weeks before average first frost (Sept 11-Sept 25 ideal here in Crestview)


Days to maturity: 50-65 days


Seed: Each “seed:” is actually a multicelled capsule which produces 3-5 seedlings.  The extras should be

snipped to thin to one seedling. Soak seeds 3-12 hrs in tepid water before planting.


Seed depth: ½ to 1 inch


Spacing between plants:


Ideal: 6-8 inches

Square Foot Gardening:    2-4 inches apart.  Thin to 6-8 inches apart in all directions

(For greens only, sow 1/2 inch apart in all directions.  No need to thin.)


Spacing between rows: 30-36 inches ideal



Special methods: Sow seeds into a well-watered furrow.  After planting seeds, keep moist until germinated by covering with a board or wet burlap. Check often and remove cover when seedlings  break soil.


Germination:   5-10 days.


Succession planting: Every 2-3 weeks for extended harvest period


Rotating crops: Do not follow its relatives spinach or swiss chard


Companion crops: bush beans, cabbage family, leek, lettuce, onion, radish


Incompatible crops: mustard, pole beans



Water: Must keep seedlings and  plants evenly moist. Wet to a depth of 6 inches. Water overhead in the morning to wet both roots and leaves, yet allow leaves to dry by nightfall.


Nutrients: Moderate feeder. Fertilize 2-3 weeks before seed bed planted with manure or 10-10-10, or at time time of planting with 6-6-6 or organic fertilizer


Side dressing:  When seedlings are 3-4 inches tall, side dress with fish emulsion, blood/bone meal, cotton seed meal, or 10-0-10.



Weeds: Remove weeds often, especially early, to decrease competition for water and nutrients Be careful not to disturb beet roots. Cultivate shallowly. Use organic mulch to keeps weeds down and water in.


Watch for: boring pests, especially as they reach maturity.


Special methods: none


Pests:  Beet Leafhoppers, Carrot Weevils, Potato Flea Weevils, Spinach Flea Beetles, Spinach Leaf Miner, aphids



            Leaf Spot-circular spots with reddish brown margins

            Scab- prevent by keeping moist, correct Boron deficiency (black spots inside root)

            Yellows- leaf yellows starting at tip.  Control aphids



            Leaves-  Best when 5-6 inches tall. Twist off outer leaves an inch above the root.

            Root- Best less than 2 inches or become woody. Dig entire plant, wash, dry.



Refrigerate 1-3 weeks until use or may store in cold, moist sand or sawdust@ 32 degrees up to 3 months. Better canned, pickled than frozen.



            Local Favorites


                        Red: Detroit Dark Red and Red Ace are Hands-down favorites

                                    (Also Early Wonder, Cylindra, Red Ace, Little Ball)

                        Heirloom: Chiogoa.  Red and white striped.

                        Golden: Burpees Golden