Growing beets is as beneficial as planting many other vegetables and is also easier than most.
You can grow beets in the garden, raised beds, or containers. This root vegetable is low maintenance and high in value.
Discover the multiple and varied benefits of growing beets and what you need to produce a successful harvest. Explore planting times, soil types and temperatures, and whether you need to fertilize your beets.
Then, read the pro tips for growing beets to improve your harvest.
Why growing beets?
Beets are full of flavor and contain an impressive selection of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. In addition, they are easy to grow, taste good, and are incredibly versatile.
Add to this the fact that beets are low in calories, and you have a power vegetable that is good to consume as a snack, a hot vegetable, or cold in salads.
Besides being a beautiful, natural dye, beets have multiple health benefits. So, let’s examine why you would want to grow beets.
Beets are a beneficial food source that contains plenty of minerals, protein, and vitamins, including vitamins C, folate, B6, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, and iron. This vegetable also contains fats and plenty of fiber.
The inorganic nitrates in beets produce multiple health benefits, such as maintaining normal blood pressure. High blood pressure is acknowledged as a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes–beets are the natural solution to regulate blood pressure and promote heart health. Beets are especially good for high blood pressure when eaten raw, but you will have to consume beets daily to maintain lower blood pressure levels.
Athletes frequently eat beets because they have high nitrate levels. These nitrate levels enhance performance by improving mitochondria efficiency to produce and release energy in increased physical activity levels.
Beets enhance the body’s use of oxygen, and you also have a better release of energy over more extended periods. Still, you will benefit most from eating beets at least two to three hours before exercising.
Beets lower inflammation which is often associated with chronic disease. You can also eat beets to improve kidney function by reducing inflammation. Beets also decrease the inflammation levels associated with osteoarthritis, making this an all-around healthy vegetable to consume regularly.
Overall health is dependent on a regular digestive system. Beets contain loads of fiber which promotes a healthy digestive system. Adding healthy fiber sources to your diet limits the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer.
Experts are beginning to prove other benefits from eating beets, such as increasing mental and cognitive abilities in mature individuals. Eating this vegetable can slow down or eliminate the potential of developing dementia, for example. This is because nitrates expand blood vessels, increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, and enhance the working memory and how you make decisions. As a result, cognitive function improves, and response times increase.
Although more research is in the pipeline, it seems that the antioxidants in this vegetable may be beneficial in limiting the development of cancer.
Because beets have low-calorie values, are high in fiber and water content, they may be beneficial in supporting weight loss.
Beetroots are tasty to eat raw or cooked, although the nitrate levels in raw beets are more beneficial.
You can drink beet juice or mix it with carrot juice to gain a double whammy of flavor and nutrients.
Beets are versatile, so you can eat them raw, roast, boil, steam, parboil, can, or pickle them.
You can cook and eat beetroot leaves as you would spinach.
You can use beetroots in desserts or to flavor drinks and food.
Essentially, beetroots are versatile power vegetables. Notably, growing beets is an uncomplicated process that requires little attention and maintenance.
When to plant beets?
When growing beets, the soil must be at a temperature of 40°F.
The earth will probably be at around this temperature in early spring or as soon as you can turn the ground in the northern parts of the U.S. In the warmer southern states, you will probably be able to grow beets throughout the winter.
If you plant too soon and the temperature is under 40°F, the seeds won’t be able to germinate, and you’ll waste valuable resources.
Each beet that you plant in the garden will generate between two and six plants. You should plant seeds with gaps of about one or two inches in rows.
Whether you plan on growing beets in your garden, raised beds, or a container, you should spread a loose layer of soil over the seeds.
A light coating of water over the seeds will be enough to begin the germination process. After one to two weeks, they will start to sprout.
If the weather is hot, sprinkle the seeds with a thin layer of sand for extra protection, or you can lightly mulch around the growing beets.
Container or raised bed
Growing beets in raised beds or containers require depth because these are root vegetables. You will need to use a container or raised bed at least twelve to nineteen inches deep and eight by eight inches square.
While you can grow beets in containers, ensure that you pick ones that have a rectangular or square shape because you should plant them in rows to give them space to expand.
If you use a round container, you will not have enough room to grow several plants. Raised beds are convenient for growing beets if they have sufficient depth, length, and width for this purpose.
You will need a small, handheld hoe to make grooves in the soil. If you don’t have a small hoe, you can use something sharp like a stick to create furrows in the ground.
After creating furrows, you can plant your beet seeds. Leave up to two inches between each plant to allow them enough room to mature.
Soil to use
If you intend to use soil from your garden, remove any stones, large sticks, or other debris.
Add easily decomposable things like grass, small sticks, and leaves at the bottom of the container or raised garden bed. Add a soil depth of at least ten inches over this material to ensure it breaks down rapidly.
If you’re growing beets in the spring, then use sandy soil. Increase the density of the ground in the fall as the sandy soil warms quicker than clay soil but do not make the soil too dense so that it limits growing beets.
You should ensure that the soil still drains well, and you can improve drainage by creating small four-to-six-inch ridges to achieve this aim. Also, include sufficient organic material in the ground, so you don’t produce tough beets.
Evaluate your soil for boron volumes and increase the level of boron if insufficient, as growing beets require an adequate supply of this mineral to be healthy.
How often to water
Growing beets require very little water. After planting, give them a drizzle of water as too much prevents proper root development. When you water growing beets too much, the plants will transfer all the nutrition to the leaves.
Rainfall of one to two inches weekly is enough to support growing beets, so keep this in mind if your region has a lot of rain. Otherwise, ensure your growing beets receive up to two inches of water every week.
However, if your area is undergoing a drought phase, water the beets daily but allow the soil to dry before giving the plants any more water.
If you notice cracks in the roots, this is a sign of insufficient water, which you should rectify immediately.
Overwatering your beets will cause the bulbs and roots to rot and make your plants susceptible to numerous diseases.
Before planting your beets, add a cup of fertilizer to the soil. Then, dig in a complete fertilizer at the rate of 10:20:10 for every ten feet of rows using a rake.
Once the growing beets reach a height of about four to six inches, you can sprinkle a tablespoon of the same fertilizer alongside the growing plants.
Water the soil to allow the fertilizer to penetrate the beet’s roots. If the earth has high clay levels, you can rectify this concentration with compost to loosen the density and improve the drainage.
Pro-tip #1: When you plan on growing beets, make a point of buying seeds that have been treated with a fungicide. Fungicides will help to prevent growing beets from rot.
Pro-tip #2: After planting, it is possible to have a long-term supply of growing beets if you plant them at three-week intervals.
If you’re considering increasing plant variety in your garden but don’t have the space, you can use containers or raised beds for growing beets.
Beets grow quickly, and if you plant them at three-week intervals, you’ll have a regular harvest over a more extended period.
Plus, if you don’t have particularly green fingers, growing beets is an excellent place to start as this is a forgiving vegetable that is very low maintenance.
Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.