These beetroot growing tips from seeds or seedlings are written to help you grow this undemanding but healthy and versatile plant. Beetroot in the garden should not only be used to grow large tubers for autumn harvesting. Young plants are much more convenient to use, as they are used earlier and gradually. All parts of the plant are used for consumption: leaves, stems, and the thickened root, which is the main product. There are also other color variations of beets – yellow, pink, white, and colorful with colored rings, which are gaining popularity.
Beetroot is sown directly in the field, or seedlings are grown. More widespread and more suitable for larger beds is sowing per bed, as the seed germinates well and quickly. Sowing is carried out in intervals for almost the whole season, but usually, two sowings are enough. In recent seasons, the first sowing of beetroots is done at the end of March, and the second at the end of June, which is also the latest possible sowing. The spring sowing is intended for the crop of younger and smaller beetroots for immediate fresh use, while the second is mainly for the winter crop.
Beetroot Growing Tips on When and How to Sow
Direct Sowing of Beetroot on the Bed
We have to hoe the bed and remove all weeds before sowing. With an inter-row distance of 30 cm, it is sown in 3 rows on a 75 cm wide bed and one more row on a 100 cm wide bed. We prepare to plant trenches about 2 cm deep along the length of the beam (a little deeper in the compost). Water the trenches abundantly (even in March) with a garden watering canister without a sprayer. Sprinkle a large amount of seed into your hand, grasp it with the fingers of the other hand, and sow by dropping it slightly between the fingers.
Ideally, the seed should fall about every 10 cm, but when sowing by hand, we always sow more densely. A beetroots seed (as with swiss chard) is a cluster of seeds from which 2 to 3 plants can sprout. We thin out the dense sowing later; we just used (too) many seeds. Cover the trenches, and do not water anything on top. We walk all the species or even the surface so that the seeds come into contact with the soil or compost. Don’t worry; we won’t damage the seeds.
The entire bed is immediately covered with plant cover in the spring. Any fear of frost in the spring months is superfluous with young beets, as they can withstand down to -4 °C. Plant cover thaws the soil even earlier and protects young plants from the wind.
At the end of June, seeding is carried out in the same manner, except that before sowing, the entire seedbed and additionally the individual planting trenches are well watered. At the end of the beam, we do not cover it with canvas; we can use a flat mulch as in the summer sowing of carrots and spinach.
Growing Beetroot From Seedlings
We sow beetroots seeds for growing from seedlings at the beginning or middle of March. Sow 2 to 3 seeds in each medium planting unit. As a rule, beets are not transplanted. Sow in the already moistened substrate and then sprinkle with dry substrate 0.5 cm thick. We cover the seeds; they can germinate in four days. If several plants sprout, we leave them as clusters. Then we take care of the moist substrate by watering it every other day. Beetroots can grow next to other seedlings, which are grown simultaneously in the light at a temperature between 18 and 22 °C.
Beetroots are ready for transplanting outdoors in 30 days when they develop 2 to 4 true leaves. Before that, we harden it outdoors for four days. Seedlings are transplanted outdoors in early April. We take into account the same inter-row distances as for sowing. Water the planting pits and transplant the seedlings. Cover with a tarp, which we can remove in May. In late spring, the seedlings are grown according to the same procedure, except that they are grown outdoors, and the planting pit is abundantly watered before transplanting, and for a few more days, we make sure that the plants have sufficiently moist soil. We transplant them outdoors at the end of June.
Planting Sequence of Beetroot
Beetroot is the first vegetable on the bed in early spring, and due to its similar growing season, it is caught with kohlrabi, lettuce, or other plants picked from the bed before July. We are sowing the beet in June after the harvested peas, spring lettuce, spring spinach, or spring cabbage.
In early spring, loosen the plant cover several times, so it does not inhibit plant growth. We remove the weight from the plant cover, lift it up, put it back slightly, and weigh it down. The plant cover remains on the plants until the end of April, when it is removed. We don’t need to water the first spring sowing. In case of dry weather, the entire surface of the bed should be abundantly watered.
Even though the beetroot crop is underground, we do not mulch the ground, as the beetroot grows densely together and shades the ground with its leaves. When sowing beetroots in compost mulch, the need for additional summer mulch is less.
We thin dense planting when the leaves of young plants reach a size of 5 cm. Weeds are removed between the plants with garden tools, and some individual weeds near the plants are removed by hand. Later weeding can be saved by hoeing the field well and eliminating the weeds before sowing.
We must water the June sowing daily for at least 10 days, especially in summer when the weather is dry and sunny. Later, it is enough to wet the bed abundantly once a week in August, especially if there is no rain.
Challenges and Inconveniences in the Cultivation of Beetroot
There are usually not many problems with beetroots. We often notice bright circles and dots on older leaves that result from leaf spots. This does not affect the crop in the soil; only the leaves are less useful. The sweet root attracts voles and mole cricket, which can damage beetroots.
The main crop is the thickened roots of round or elongated shapes, which can be harvested when they are still relatively small. There is no need to wait for them to fatten up and mature. The older the crop, the harder the outer skin and the middle can also be woody, so the first sowing is harvested from the end of May to the middle of July, and the second sowing from the middle of August to the middle of October, when all the remaining beetroots are harvested for winter storage. With the gradual harvesting of young plants, we additionally loosen the soil for the tubers, which will be left to grow fat. We can also use the leaves collected from the outside during growth and used similarly to swiss chard. The younger the leaves, the tastier they are. The stems, in particular, have a strong “earthy” taste, which is why many people do not like them.
The Trick for an Abundant Harvest
So that we always have young and fresh beetroot leaves, we sow it at intervals from March to June.
Storing of Beetroot
Young plants are consumed immediately and are not stored for a long time. Beetroot leaves are eaten raw or cooked like spinach. Traditionally, beetroots are cooked in October, soaked in vinegar, or made into juice. During the winter, fresh beetroot tubers are ideally stored if they are buried in sand, sawdust, or even in the ground.