Vegetable Garden - Tips on Growing Beet Seeds
Days to Maturity: 55-80
Garden Friends: Bush Beans, cabbage family, corn, leek, lettuce, lima bean, onion and radish.
Garden Adversaries: Mustard and Pole Beans.
- Beet seeds need to be well tucked in, as they often fail to germinate if not sufficiently in close contact with the soil. One way to accomplish this is to cover the seed with ½” of soil, then step on the soil if it is sandy in type of soil. For heavier clay types tamp the row with the flat blade of your gardening hoe after planting the seeds.
- The beet seed that you plant is actually a seed ball, an aggregate of two to six individual seeds. However even when you follow the recommended spacing of 4 inches apart, the seedlings will still need to be thinned.
- Plant seeds in the garden about a month before your last frost.
- By planting the Beet seeds to early the seeds or seedlings will suffer from freezing.
- In the far north for instance, beet seeds that are planted before they should be may bolt when the weather turns warm.
- If you want an extra early crop start the beet seeds in a greenhouse lets say March 1st for mid-April transplant.
- If you have rabbits in your area, you can cover with a length of wire fencing bent into a U shape over the plants, this will keep the rabbits from eating the green tops.
- Beet seeds are notorious for spotty germination. Naturally their coats contain a germination inhibitor, as well as the seed covering that is to protect the seedling from harmful bacteria found in soils.
- Some gardeners find that if they slightly crush the seed with a rolling pin that this will help with a complete germination .
- Sow seeds outdoors beginning two or three weeks before the last expected frost.
- Seeds should be ½ to 1 inches deep and 4 inches apart, with at least 1-2 feet between the rows.
- Thin plants when they are 2 inches tall, and be ruthless: Crowded roots will not develop properly. Space 4 inches between plants of smaller varieties, and 6 inches between those with larger roots.
- Your thinnings may be transplanted which provides in effect a succession crop, because with the root insult this will set them back about 2 weeks.
- Some that grow beets say that they nip off the long thready tip of the beet root when they transplant. Also at this time they cut off the outer leaves to balance the root and top growth.
- Give plants at least 1 inch of water a week, and maintain a regular schedule; uneven watering can result in dry, cracked roots. As water will give you the sweet beets that you have been waiting for. Once plants are established, mulch with compost to conserve moisture and deter weeds.
- Encourage rapid growth as a key, along with even moisture, to sweet-flavored beets by feeding.
USDA Hardiness Zone -First Frost Date- Last Frost Date
- Zone 1 -July 15th -June 15th
- Zone 2 -August 15th- May 15th
- Zone 3 -September 15th May 15th
- Zone 4 -September 15th May 15th
- Zone 5 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 6 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 7 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 8 -November 15th March 15th
- Zone 9 -December 15th February 15th
- Zone 10 -December 15th January 31st (sometimes earlier)
- Zone 11 -No frost. No frost.