Growing Beets Organically – A Planting Guide

Growing Beets Organically

Hello gardeners, today we are here with a new topic of growing beets organically. The Beetroot is the taproot portion of a Beet plant and belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. The vegetable is also referred to as the Table Beet, Garden Beet, Red Beet, Dinner Beet, or Golden Beet. Beetroot is part of the family. Growing Beets organically will obtain delicious, colorful roots and nutritious greens. Beetroot is generally easy to grow vegetable plants grown in home gardens. In this article we also discuss the below topics about growing Beets;

  • How to Grow Beets
  • Tips for Planting Beets
  • How to grow and care for Beetroot
  • How long does Beetroot take to grow
  • What is the best way to grow Beetroot
  • Can Beetroot be grown all year round
  • What is the best fertilizer for Beetroot
  • Why won’t my Beets grow
  • Conditions required for growing beets organically

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide to Growing Beets Organically

Guide to Growing Beets Organically
Guide to Growing Beets Organically (Image credit: pixabay)

Growing Beets organically can give many beautiful and tasty varieties of Beets. Certified organic Beet seeds combined with an organic growing bed, fertilizers, and pest control are the main factors in producing Beets free of potentially harmful chemicals. Beets are cold-hardy plants and can grow year-round in areas with mild winter conditions.

Different Beet Varieties

If you know how to grow Beets in containers, you can try any variety at home garden. Some of the Beet varieties for containers are the Detroit Dark Red, Early Wonder, Sangria, and Sweetheart.

Beets come in a few shapes and a rainbow of colors. The deep red variety is typical, but yellow and white color varieties are also available, as are red-white ringed ones. Some of the varieties are;

  • ‘Chioggia’- It has red skin; when sliced open reveals red and white concentric rings.
  • ‘Detroit Dark Red’- Sturdy, traditional variety. Round, red root.
  • ‘Formanova’- It has long, cylindrical Beets that grow in the same fashion as carrots. Excellent for canning.
  • Yellow varieties include ‘Bolder’ or ‘Touchstone Gold’
  • White Beet varieties include ‘Avalanche’ or Dutch heirloom ‘Albino’

Some of the earliest maturing heirloom Beet varieties include;

  • Detroit Dark Red (matures in 58 days)
  • Early wonder (52 days)
  • Sangria (56 days)
  • Sweetheart (58 days)

Some of the hybrid varieties of Beet include;

  • Avenger- It is good for green and globe-shaped red roots
  • Big Red variety matures in 55 days and is one of the best late-season producers.
  • Gladiator Beet is rapidly maturing at only 48 days and is great for canning.
  • Pacemaker Beet is ready at 50 days with excellent roots.
  • Warrior Beet variety takes 57 days and has globe-shaped roots that develop rapidly and greens tinged with red.

Soil Preparation for Growing Beets Organically

  • Beets can adapt to a different variety of soils, but they will do better when the right conditions are provided. As they are heavy feeders, Beets will need an initial potting soil with high nutritional value.
  • Premium organic and well-composted potting soils are preferred for growing Beets. Beets can be grown in most types of soil including containers but prefer that they be deep, moist, well-drained, and contain plenty of compost or aged manure.
  • The optimum pH level range is between 6 and 6.5. Beets do not grow well in highly acidic soil means a pH lower than 6. Compost is a natural pH buffer, so if you notice the soil is leaning too acidic or alkaline simply adds more compost to even out the acidity.
  • Beetroots require more Boron than most plants, although they use it inefficiently. Tough, hard black areas in the Beetroots indicate boron deficiency. Boron is less available to the plant in soils with high pH levels and high organic matter. Adding compost to your soil may help. Also, you might try a liquid organic leaf spray fertilizer with traces of boron in it. Its main function is to increase a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the air and soil to increase a plant’s sugar. It appears to improve not just plant size and health, but also noticed an improvement in the flavor of any vegetable we’ve used it on.
  • Use only well-composted manure and manure that is too fresh can cause forked roots.

Choose Appropriate Locations to Plant Beets

Grow Beets in full sun or partial shade in warm areas. Plant Beets in well-worked loose soil and rich in organic matter. Add plenty of aged compost to growing beds in advance of planting; this will increase the crop yield. Beets require full sun means 6-8 hours to grow healthy roots. Sunlight is vital for photosynthesis to occur.

When To Plant Beets

  • Beets are a hardy vegetable and can be planted one full month before the last frost date or as soon as you can work the soil.
  • Garden Beets are “cold-hardy” plants. Beet seeds can be planted directly into the garden as early as 4 weeks before your last frost date.
  • The Beet seeds will not germinate in water-logged soil. Most Beet varieties take 50 to 55 days to mature.           

Tips for Planting and Growing Beets Organically

  • Beetroot is an easy to grow vegetable plant that suffers from few pests and disease problems. The trick to growing the Beetroot is a nice loose, fertile soil with plenty of well-rotted organic matter added. Organic Beet​s is easy to grow​ ​at home. Beets have very few diseases and pest problems, and even the problems they do have are easy to manage organically.
  • Sow seeds about 1 inch apart in rows in early spring or late fall. Beets can withstand freezing temperature levels, but plants exposed to 2 to 3 weeks of cold may go to seed early, especially after the first leaves have developed. Thin rows as plants develop and apply about 4 to 8 inches of mulch to help maintain soil moisture and limit weeds. Promote rapid growth by feeding every 3 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer and seaweed extract.
  • Cultivate the planting site and then mix in a 1-inch layer of cured compost and a standard application of organic fertilizer. As long as your soil is not alkaline, also you can mix in a sprinkling of wood ashes for additional potassium, which will support more vigorous growth. Water the prepared bed, and plant seeds half an inch deep and 2 inches apart, in rows spaced 12 inches apart.
  • Beet seeds germinate in 5 to 10 days if kept constantly moist. This method is also useful when planting Beets for fall harvest in warm summer soil.

Step by Step Process to Growing Beets Organically

Step 1) Identify a planting location for growing organic Beets that receives direct sunlight. Select a location where you haven’t recently grown potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, or radishes, which increase the chances of infection with the disease called scab in your Beets.

Step 2) After that, till organic compost into the garden. Then, use compost made from organic plants and materials that weren’t sprayed with non-organic chemicals.

Step 3) Apply organic fertilizer to the garden soil a week before you plant the Beet seeds. Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen, which can increase leaf growth while decreasing root growth in Beets. Adding fertilizer onto the plants after a month is essential for plant growth, and to remember follow the directions provided at the back of the fertilizer bag to prepare a one-time application. This will boost Beet production and also ensure a quality harvest. Organic fertilizer with equal NPK levels or homemade liquid compost is sufficient enough to provide essential nutrition to the plants.

Step 4) Beets will quickly use up available nutrients in potting soil, so a supplemental fertilizer should be used once during their growth. Organic all-purpose fertilizer with equal NPK levels will be sufficient for growing Beets. Also, homemade compost teas will be very efficient in delivering proper nutrition. For growing Beets organically, side-dress plants with compost or manure and feed the Beet plants with compost tea every other week.

Step 5) Sow the Beet seeds about 2 inches apart in the spring when the soil temperature reaches between 12 and 23°C. Leave at least 12 inches between rows.

Step 6) Thin the emerging Beet seedlings to leave about 3 to 4 inches between the strongest plants.

Step 7) Pile organic mulch in the garden around the Beet seedlings. As the Beetroots begin emerging from the ground, cover them with the mulch or with organic soil to protect them from the sun until they are ready to harvest.

Step 8) Apply at least 1 inch of water per week to the beet plants. Generally, Beets will either be tough without enough water or they will be too dry. Tilling in compost to the soil will increase water retention and also maintain even moisture.

Step 9) Remove leaves from Beet plants that show signs of some pest infestation. For example, leaf miners leave lines in the plant leaves. Spray a stream of water to remove any aphids you see on the plants. Then, these removal methods help you avoid pesticides.

Growing Beets Organically in Containers

  • For growing Beets in containers, it’s important to use a container that has sufficient drainage holes in the bottom. They require enough room for the roots and bulb to flourish.
  • ​Clay pots won’t only provide healthy housing for your vegetables, but these pots will also biodegrade quickly and making them the eco-friendly option. You can get plastic containers for growing organic Beets. But we recommend using a clay pot container for growing Beets. Depth is the important factor you have to consider when growing Beets in a container.
  • Potting soil – Beets can adapt to a variety of soil, but they do better when provided with an enriched one. Beets are heavy feeders, so this requires an initial potting soil with high nutrients.
  • Prepare Beet Container – Place a layer of small rocks or gravel at the bottom of the empty container. The stones about 1 or 2 inches deep will serve as a barrier to promote adequate soil drainage to ensure the soil does not become waterlogged. Then, fill the container with potting mix.
  • Pre-Soak the Seed Overnight – Generally, Beet seeds have a hard seed coat, taking much time to germinate. To speed the Beet seed germination process, you can pre-soak the seeds in water overnight. Then, it will soften the seed’s hard coat to allow the Beet seeds to sprout faster.
  • Start Planting – Start planting Beet seeds about half-inch deep in the container pots.
  • Cover and Water the Seeds- Water the seeds well and then cover the pots to keep the soil moist. The Beet seeds will start to germinate in a couple of weeks.
  • Thin The Seedlings – Once the majority of the seeds begin to sprout, thin out the seedlings to provide adequate space.

Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Beets Organically

Beets are extremely tolerant to hard and clay soil, if you want a picturesque shape; Beets will grow in a perfect globe in loose and fluffy soil. Beet plants need to grow tall leaves for their roots to grow properly, so they need lots of nitrogen to encourage leaf growth. Once the plant leaves are formed, photosynthesis will send energy to the roots. Till in an inch of compost into the soil to provide nutrients and fertilize according to soil test results.

Beets going with an organic fertilizer when growing food crops are most important. There are several different ones to pick from, it is important that the nitrogen level is low (NPK), which is the first number on the fertilizer bag and that the fertilizer is high in phosphorus levels, which is the second number in the sequence. Phosphorus is responsible for root development in the plant’s nutrient needs. Manure and bone meal are great sources of phosphorus. Seaweed is a great source of boron levels, which many Beet varieties become deficient in. Using compost tea with added drops of seaweed fertilizer is a great method to amend the soil on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.

Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Beets Organically

  • Beets are rarely bothered by pests or disease, but prevention is always the best measure. Choose resistant seed varieties and plant Beets in a different spot each year to minimize the risk of spreading infections. Also, use some methods like drip irrigation and organic mulch to minimize the spread of disease via water droplets.
  • Sometimes, Cutworms are also a problem in Beets. To prevent them by sprinkle wood ash around the base of the plants.
  • Flea Beetles make tiny holes in Beet leaves, but healthy Beet plants will quickly outgrow the damage. Also, flea Beetles love mustard greens and arugula, so diversity among your spring greens can limit the damage.
  • Aphids and thrips can deform leaves, so control by spraying them with a non-toxic, insecticidal soap.
  • Beet leaves also affected by Cercospora leaf spot disease. Affected plant leaves develop small spots and cracked tan edges. You can prevent this disease with good crop rotation practices, adequate thinning, and a high level of soil fertility. Once it has occurred though, remove infected plant leaves at once to prevent further spread.

Companion Plants for Beets

Good for adding minerals to the soil. Also, Beets are beneficial to beans except for runner beans. Some companions for Beets are lettuce, onions, and brassicas. Beets and kohlrabi grow perfectly together. Beets are helped by garlic and mints. Garlic improves growth and also flavor.

The Most Common Problems When Growing Beets

Seedlings Fail To Germinate – Beet seedlings that fail to germinate happens when the temperatures are too high when you plant the seedlings. To address such a problem, add mulch such as straw or grass clippings around the plants to allow the soil to cool. Keep the soil moist until the Beet seedlings begin to emerge.

Leaves Turning Red – Beet leaves turning from green to red when the temperature reaches freezing is not harmful to Beets some varieties have red leaves naturally.

Deformed Beets – Beets are too small or malformed as a result of too much shade or overcrowding. Beet plants prefer full sun but will tolerate some partial shade. For the best quality, aim for 6-8 hours of sun a day. Also, Beets prefer sandy, lightweight soil that drains well. The best method to overcome issues with Beetroots is to provide adequate growing conditions. Even if all these conditions are met, Beetroot problems may still occur. Don’t let this sway you from enjoying crops anyway.

Beet Leaves Are Turning Yellow – If Beet leaves are turning yellow, it could be a few different problems. One possible condition that can be causing Beet leaves to turn yellow is a nutrient deficiency. Plants that don’t have enough sulfur can cause plant leaves to change from green to yellow color. Test your soil to check sulfur levels or it can be that your plants have a disease or you could be dealing with a simple case of pests. Pests and diseases often go hand in hand as many insects are the cause of plants getting infected with an illness. Some types of insects are beneficial to your Beet plants.

When and How to Harvest Beets

Depending on plant variety, Beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball usually this is 90 days after sowing. To harvest Beets by hand, firmly grasp the location where the leaves meet the Beetroot and give a firm and then steady pull until the Beetroot comes out of the ground. Normally, Beets can be harvested whenever they grow to the desired size like a golf ball. With most plant varieties, Beets larger than 3 inches may become tough and fibrous.

Digging is an alternative method of harvesting Beets. If Beets will be stored for a length of time, place them in a dry, shady place until the soil on them has dried, and then gently brush the dried soil off. Wash the Beets right before using.

Beets can be stored in a polythene bag in a refrigerator for several weeks. Also, Beets may be stored in outdoor pits if the Beets are dug before the ground freezes in the fall. Do not allow them to freeze.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Beets Organically

In case if you miss this: Greenhhouse Gardening For Beginners.

Questions about Growing Beets Organically
Questions about Growing Beets Organically (pic source: pixabay)

What is the right way to harvest Beets?

The right method to harvest Beets is simply by pulling them up from the soil. However, you never yank them from their leaves or stems. You must grasp the Beets near the soil line. In some cases, you can need to use a garden fork when harvesting Beets. You can loosen the surrounding soil or dig the Beets out of the container.

Why is my Beetroot so small?

Small Beets can result from a different variety of conditions like lack of light, crowding means Beets need space to develop as difficult as it is, they should be thinned. When Beets are too small, lack of nutrients is also the main problem like phosphorus. By adding more phosphorus to the soil like bone meal, you can induce larger root growth.

What is the best way to grow Beetroot?

Beets prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, but will also thrive in raised beds or pots.

Does Beetroot need lots of water?

Beet plants shouldn’t need any additional watering unless the soil looks like it will dry out completely. In hot climates, you can find that shade cloth is necessary to prevent bolting in the summer season.

Why Beet leaves purple?

Viruses that damage Beets cause visible changes to the leaves. The Beet plant growth slows and the leaves become brittle or thick. Leafhoppers and aphids spread the disease through Beet crops, so pest control is necessary.

Does Beetroot need full sun?

Beet plants prefer a position in full sun. The plants will grow in light shade, but avoid areas that get no direct sun at all.

That’s all folks about growing beets organically, hope this information will help you grow organic beets.

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