Beginner’s Guide for How to Grow Beets

Beets are easily one of our favorite cool-weather plants to grow; they’re hardy, not temperamental, and they’re rarely plagued by garden pests or diseases. Even better, anyone can grow a beautiful beet garden! These plants are the perfect option for the novice gardener and the expert alike. 

Did you know that beets contain more iron than spinach? Additionally, beets are a wonderful addition to your diet, as they contain high levels of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin c. Brighten up your garden and your palette by adding beets to your list of fall container garden vegetables.

Are Beets Hard to Grow?

Luckily, beets are in season and they are extremely fast and easy growers. At Gardenuity, we want to give everyone the confidence and resources to believe that they can grow anything. That being said, starting off with an easy-going plant in your vegetable garden is a great step on the path to growing success. Adult plants grow up to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide, with heart-shaped leaves on tall stalks. 

Types of Beets to Grow

Beet Varieties

There are many different types of beets that you can choose to plant in your garden. If you’re feeling really excited about growing beets, choose a few varieties and observe how they differ from one another! Below is a list containing some examples of the various beet plants, and some details about how they grow. 

  • Classic Red Beet: Red beets are the classic variety of beet. They are dark red, earthy, and they have that strong, peppery, earthy flavor. Matures in 45-65 days. 
  • Golden Beet: This beet has bright yellow flesh, and it tastes similar to a sweet potato. Sow extra-thick (if you’re growing from seeds, plant a lot of seeds), since it doesn’t produce as well as some red beet varieties. Matures in 50 to 60 days.
  • Chioggia Beet: These beets are naturally striped; some have a subtle combination of yellow and orange, while others come with a brilliant red-and-cream candy cane effect. Some consider these beets to be sweeter, milder, and even a bit more peppery than your typical red beets. Despite their more exotic appearance, chioggia beets are just as simple to grow as regular red beets.
  • Detroit Dark Red: This is a classic beet, dating all the way back to 1892, it’s still one of the best plants for sweet roots and yummy greens. This variety matures in 60 to 65 days.
  • Bull’s Blood: This beet is an heirloom with lovely dark maroon colored leaves that can give you a beautiful splash of color for salads. It can be harvested young (2 to 3 inches), and is extraordinarily cold-hardy. Matures in 35 to 40 days for greens; 55 to 60 days for roots.
  • Red Ace: This variety of beet will produce tender leafy greens that are also great for your next salad creation. Matures in 50 to 60 days.
  • Baby Beets: Any type of beet can be harvested as a baby beet. A baby beet is simply a young plant that is pulled to make room for other beets to grow. They are tender and usually have full, beautiful greens. 

For more fun information about growing different types of beets, take a look at this article by Good Housekeeping. 

When Can You Grow Beets?

Beets are wonderful because they really can be grown for the majority of the year. This plant is primarily adapted to cool temperatures, which makes them perfect to grow in early spring, late summer, and early to late fall! When you’re planting your beets in your container garden, you can extend this growing period longer because you can take your garden indoors once the frost settles.

Beets do best when the day time temperatures are about 60-70 degrees, and the night time temperatures are about 50-60 degrees. Be weary of letting your beets stay in temperatures below 50 degrees for a prolonged period of time. As a general rule, beets don’t fare well in extremely hot temperatures. 

Where to Grow Beets

Beets should be planted in partial shade. They also grow best in deep, well drained soils; these plants have deep roots that can reach lengths of 36 to 48 inches, so do not plant them where other roots will compete. Before choosing a spot to plant your beets, if you should choose not to use your container garden, be sure to make sure there are not too many rocks or large sticks in your soil. 

How to Grow Beets in Containers

Growing Beets in a Container Garden

We love beets because they absolutely thrive when planted in containers. These plants truly do not like being too hot, so if you’re planting in the spring, planting in a container is a great way to be sure that your early summer plants don’t get too much sun. An easy way to get started with a flourishing beet garden is to choose one of Gardenuity’s container gardening kits! Take a look!

  • Choose the Right Container: The most important aspect of planting your beet garden in a container is making sure that your container is at least ten inches deep; this ensures that the beetroots have enough space to stretch out and grow. If you’re sowing your beets from seeds, you want to give the beet seeds at least 3” of space from one another. As always, be sure your container has ample drainage. 
  • Sunlight Needs: Similar to any plant, beets do need their direct sunlight. That being said, you want to make sure that your beet plants are only getting about 4-5 hours of full sun, preferably being morning sun. Partial shade from trees is also great for your beet garden’s prosperity. 
  • Potting Soil Needs: You can use garden soil for an indoor or outdoor container, but you may have to amend it. To grow your beet plants, your soil’s pH should be between 6.0-7.0. These plants need well-draining, light soil to allow the roots to expand as they grow. Your soil should also be light and fluffy. Add your own compost as an environmentally conscious, and nutrient-rich fertilizer for your beets. 
  • Fertilizer Needs: We always recommend including compost as a way to fertilize your garden. Keep in mind that including the right kinds of nutrients in your soil mean bigger beetroots with a sweeter flavor. Nutrients that are imperative for the prosperity your beets harvest are potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Take a look at this article by Gardening Know How to learn more about the nitty-gritty details of fertilizing the soil for your beet garden.  
  • Water Needs: Beets are often considered a “thirsty crop”. That being said, be careful not to overwater this vegetable garden. You want the soil at 3 inches deep to be just slightly moist. If the soil feels wet, wait before watering your young plants. If the soil is dry, give them a nice, shallow soak. If you live in a dry climate that doesn’t receive much rain, a light to moderate watering twice a week is sufficient. 

How to Grow Beets from Beets

Believe it or not, all that you need to grow a beet is another beet! You can grow beets by using scraps of other beetroots that you already have – so neat. Follow the following steps from Homeguides to try this at home: 

  1. Acquire one beet, a kitchen knife, and a water glass
  2. Fill the glass with water
  3. Slice off the top portion of the beet – no more than ⅓ of the veggie
  4. Place the beet in the water, with the side that was cut facing down
  5. Set your glass on a windowsill or in a place where it will receive plenty of sunlight
  6. Change out the water every few days so it does not grow bacteria
  7. Harvest the beets leafy greens once they begin to grow greens and shoots. The beet will produce leafy greens for several weeks.

You can also try using a plastic bag to re-grow your recycled beets, instead of using a water glass. 

Tips for Harvesting & Storing Beets

Beet Harvest

Below are a few things to keep in mind when you are harvesting your crop of beets.

  • You can start enjoying your beet crop at the first thinning. 
    • Gardeners use thinning as a technique to maximize germination, production, and overall quality of the beets harvest. Once your seeds start to grow, pull or cut the weakest plants until you have the desired number of plants growing at the desired spacing. This practice is specifically used after you sow beet seeds. 
    • Cut your beet’s leafy greens during the thinning process to use for making delicious fresh salads. 
  • You can up your baby beets when they reach one inch in diameter. When you cook your baby beetroots, be sure to cook them with the stems. 
  • When you’re harvesting larger beets, leave 1-2 inches of the stems attached in order to avoid any staining or “bleeding.” 
  • Make sure to cut off the tops close to the beetroots, and store the beets in a box of sand in a cool place like a basement or a root cellar until you are ready to eat them. 
    • A root cellar is, usually underground or partially underground, used to store vegetables, fruits, nuts, or other foods that prefer a slightly moist environment. 
  • Cut, wash, and store your beet greens in the fridge until you want to use them for your next fresh culinary creation. 

Our Favorite Beet Recipes

Arugula Beet Salad
Arugula Beet Salad
  1. This delicious Healthy Roasted Beet Salad is a favorite of ours. Once you start roasting your beets, you won’t want to stop!
  2. This Beets, Thyme & Apple Salad is a fresh fix for all of your palette’s desires; a little earthy and a little sweet, try this salad for dinner with your fall beet harvest!
  3. Try this Balsamic Beet & Arugula salad for a savory, slightly spicy way to craft two of your fall container garden harvests. 
  4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with these to-die-for Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes by GoodtoKnow. You will not be sorry. 

Growing Beets FAQs

Can beets be grown in pots? 

Yes, beets can be grown in pots or other containers. Be sure that your pot is at least ten inches deep, and that it has great drainage. 

How deep do beets need to grow? 

A beet’s roots can grow up to 48 inches deep at the most! 

Do beets need a lot of sun to grow?

Beet plants can thrive with up to 4-5 hours of direct sunlight. That being said, partial shade can also be a great environment for beets to grow in.

What should not be planted with beets? 

Beets should not be planted with pole beans or field mustard. Beets do grow well in vegetable gardens with onions, leeks, and shallots.

What happens when you leave beets in the ground for too long?

Beets shouldn’t be left in the ground for too much time as they will become woody and tough. Harvest your beets when the root tops are at least 1-1 ½ inches in diameter – no more than 3 inches in diameter. 

Can beets stay in the ground during winter? 

Your beets will be able to survive at sustained temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but ideally, you’re not leaving them out for prolonged periods of time if the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do leave your beet plants in the garden all winter, the roots will produce very early spring greens; be sure to harvest these greens before they regrow their leaves.

Get to Growing!

Now is the perfect time to sow your beet seeds and get your fall beet garden started. As it is getting later in the season, planting your beets in a container garden is the best way to keep your plants safe from the frost and ensure a successful harvest. Take a look at our container garden kits that are set up with everything you need, and ready for you to grow a beautiful beet harvest!

How to Grow Beets