Beets are one of the most delicious and easy to grow of all root vegetables. Their exceptionally large seeds -- which aren't actually seeds at all but withered fruits, each containing six to eight tiny seeds -- are simple to plant, and will quickly yield lots of produce. Don't limit yourself to the traditional red beets; try some of the less familiar varieties such as 'Golden Globe' beets, which have bright-yellow flesh, or the red-and-white-striped 'Chiogga.'
Beets are available year-round, though their peak season is usually June through October. They prefer cooler climates, so if you live in a warm area, it's best to grow them in spring and fall rather than midsummer.
Tools and Materials
- Long-handled cultivator or shovel
- Beet seeds
Planting Beets How-To
1. Choose a sunny spot, and prepare soil with lots of compost, well-rotted manure, and sand for good drainage. Clear away any rocks or debris from the earth that might obstruct the formation of long, straight roots.
2. Use the handle of a shovel or cultivator to make a straight line in the soil. With a trowel, dig a 1/2-inch furrow. Sow seeds about 1 1/2 inches apart; don't worry about sowing them too thickly; you can thin them as they grow -- the tender shoots are delicious in salads.
3. Cover the seeds with soil, and tamp down lightly. Mark the variety of beet with labels at the end of the row, so you can clearly read it as the plants grow. Keep the bed weed-free, and make successive plantings every two to three weeks to ensure a continual supply of beets throughout the season.
Beet seeds are available at Johnny's Selected Seeds.