Sow 1cm (½”) deep, 5-10cm (2-4″) apart in rows 30-45cm (12-18″) apart.
Days to Maturity
From direct sowing.
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. For uniformly sized beets, thin carefully to 7-15cm (3-6″) apart when seedlings are 5cm (2″) tall. Eat any thinned plants, roots and all. root size is controlled by spacing and variety.
Harvest at any size, but for the best flavour, pull the beets as soon as they have reached full-size. Eat the greens too. Store in the ground, or in moist peat or sand just above freezing.
In optimum conditions at least 75% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years.
Diseases & Pests
If beets have black cankers in the roots, soil may need more boron. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of borax to 4L (8½ US pints) of water, and spread evenly over 9m² (100 sq ft) of soil. Do not over apply at a heavier rate. Circular lesions with a purple halo on the leaf is cercospera leaf spot. Prevent by strict crop rotation and sanitation. Leaf miner maggots cause blistered grey tunnels in leaves. Just squish them inside the leaf. Floating row cover carefully applied after planting will prevent the leaf miner fly from laying its eggs.
Beets add minerals to the soil. The greens are very good for the compost. Plant with bush beans, Brassicas, corn, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, and mint. Add cut mint leaves as a mulch for beets. Avoid planting beets near pole beans, as the nitrogen fixed by the beans may encourage leafy beet growth and diminished root development.
Download this Guide to Companion Planting booklet for more information, planting tips, and a helpful chart that indicates both companion and rival plants in the garden.
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