Spring Growing Guides
Beet Growing Guide
|Seed Depth||Seed Spacing||Soil Temp for Germ.||Days to Germ.||Thin Plants To||Approximately 30-75 seeds per gram.|
This wholesome vegetable is doubly heart-healthy. The sweet, delicious roots contain high levels of glycine betaine. This phytochemical compound fights platelet clots and plaque formation in the arteries. Along with a wealth of potassium, calcium and vitamin A, hearty beet greens are rich in fiber, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
CULTURE: Beets grow fairly well in almost any soil, but because of their extensive taproot, they prefer deep, moist, rich soil. Prepare the seedbed by working in 2-3 inches of compost or well-rotted manure prior to planting. Beets germinate in soils as cool as 45°F, and the seedlings are frost hardy, but the strongest plants emerge when soil is 50-75°F. In this range, emergence occurs in 5-17 days. At our research farm, we sow beets April through May. Below the seed furrow spread 1 cup of our complete fertilizer per 5-10 row feet. Plant 1 seed per inch, 1/2 inch deep, in rows at 12-16 inches apart. Cover the seeds with sifted compost, loose soil, or vermiculite and water evenly. For uniformly sized beets, thin to 3-4 inches when the seedlings are 3-4 inches tall. Thinnings can be used as pot greens or in salads. Keep well watered especially during root development. The 5th and 6th leaf stage is the most critical time for beets to stress. Sudden changes in temperature or moisture will increase zoning (ring formation in the root) and lead to premature bolting. Starting beets indoors is not recommended.
DISEASES: Beets are susceptible to scab, the same disorder that affects potatoes. It causes brown rough spots on the skin. This can be prevented by making sure that your pH level is near neutral (7.0), rotating at least 2 years between potatoes and beets, and keeping your beets adequately watered.
HARVEST: Beets are usually harvested when they reach their desired size for table or canning use. Root size is controlled primarily by spacing and variety, rather than by maturity date. Store at 34°F and 100% relative humidity.
INSECTS/PESTS: Leaf miners cause blistered leaves and are best controlled by picking the infected leaves. Mice, moles, and gophers find beets tasty and sometimes can be discouraged by trapping or underground screens.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 75%. Usual seed life: 2 years.
Key to Beet Disease Resistance/Tolerance
HR indicates high resistance.
IR indicates intermediate resistance.
BLS | Bacterial Leaf Spot
C | Cercospora
DM | Downy Mildew
Rr | Rhizoctonia root and crown rot