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How to Grow Beets in Central Texas

It might go without saying, but few things beat homegrown beets. They're pleasantly sweet for a vegetable (especially one that's so good for you) that we think their name should be changed to sweet root. You'll get a ton of flavor from each plant, but you won't have to give over much garden space to grow it. Plus, you'll get to try varieties you might never find at the store.


beets growing

Beets are surprisingly easy to grow in Central Texas as the weather cools. My favorite varieties of beets to grow here include Chiogga beets, Golden beets, and Detroit Dark Red beets.


Follow these tips to grow beets under their preferred growing conditions and set yourself up to harvest bulbous root after yummy bulbous root.


beets good for you

When Is Beets and Carrots Season in Central Texas?

Beets, like carrots, love cooler weather and are typically grown in the spring and fall, our favorite times to garden here in Austin. Beets actually sprout best when the soil temps are above 50°F and below 80°F.


The best time to plant beets in the fall is late August to October, and in the spring, February to April.


Beets can handle a bit of frost but not our hot Texas summers (and second summers, AKA early fall). If we're expecting a heat wave, drape some shade cloth over your garden bed to keep the soil cooler.



Where to Grow Beets

Plant your beets somewhere they'll receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sun each day. We love growing beets in raised-bed vegetable gardens for two reasons:

  1. Beets don't do very well in clay-heavy soils, which is what we mostly have in this region. Raised beds allow you to start with nutrient-rich soil that drains well.

  2. Raised beds give beets room to really put down some roots and stay awhile.

How to Sow Beets Seeds

Before you plant beets, use a shovel or hori hori to loosen the soil down about 8 to 10 inches deep. Remove any debris, twigs, and weeds that might cause the developing root to feel cramped. You want your beets to feel like they have all the space in the world to form large, juicy roots (the main part we want to eat).


Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil for a little nutrient boost.


Plant each beet seed about half an inch deep and 3" to 4" apart. Cover seeds lightly with soil and water in. Beets will sprout in just 5 to 12 days.


Each beet seed is actually a little bundle of several seeds (called multigerm seeds), which means 2 to 6 beet seedlings can emerge for each beet seed you sowed. You might think, "Cool, more plants!" but I have bad news for you. Beets really hate competition, even when it's with their own seed-mates.


You'll have to thin beet seedlings once they're about 2" tall. Thinning just means removing some seedlings (preferably the ones that look less robust) to give more room to others (the fittest). Space surviving seedlings about 3" to 4" apart. Basically, picture how large a mature beet is, double that, and make sure you leave at least that much room between their green tops. Take the little seedlings that you've thinned and enjoy their greens in your next salad or smoothie.


If you'd like a continuous supply of beets instead of one large root harvest all at once, plant more beet seeds in 2 to 3 weeks.


beets leaves and roots are so good for you

How to Care for Beets

Keep the soil evenly moist around your beets plants as they're growing and weed often. (Another benefit of raised beds over in-ground gardens is how they cut down on weeds.)


Growing beets in a good rich soil is usually enough. If you feel that fertilizer is needed, use MicroLife Maximum Blooms Concentrate or another fertilizer high in phosphorous and potassium to support strong root growth. Avoid products high in nitrogen, which will ensure you get lots of leafy greens instead of that bulbous root you're after.


beets greens
Beets greens are 100% edible!

When to Harvest Beets

One thing I love about growing root crops like beets is that you can eat their greens anytime! You'll harvest the actual beet root once it's between 1" and 3" in diameter.


Check the time to harvest on the back of your beet seed packet. Most beets are ready in 50 to 70 days, depending on the variety.


When it's about that sweet, sweet harvest time, use your finger to sweep soil away from the crown of the beet, and if the root looks underdeveloped, just push the soil right back in place. Try to harvest all your crop before a hard frost.


Gently tug on the greens to harvest beet roots. Clip off the greens to enjoy fresh and store your beets in a cool place inside a plastic bag or reusable container.


how beets grow

Grow with Us This Fall

No matter what growing season it is, Lettuce Grow Something can help you fill your garden with color, beauty, and nutritious things to eat.


Still need to get your raised beds set up? Not a problem. Our garden consultants are ready to help you build the garden you've always wanted.





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