How to Grow Beetroot - Tips for Planting and Harvesting

by KathleenDuffy

Beetroot is a versatile, colourful and easy-to-grow vegetable. Even beetroot tops are delicious. Follow these tips for growing tasty beetroot.

Beetroot is a secretive vegetable, growing steadily under the earth, out of sight, storing up its sweetness and ruby glow for our later delight. Its luscious purple and green tops make wonderful additions to salads and are delicious gently steamed, like spinach.

It also makes wonderful pickles which will line your shelves with rose-tinted jewels to see you through the harsh winter months and well into the summer salad season.

And if you enjoy juicing your vegetables, beetroot is an essential addition to your health regime!

Suggested Beetroot Varieties

Beetroot can be found in a range of shades and flavours - even white, as seen below -  and it’s a good strategy to grow different varieties as this will keep the crop going over a long period. 

Here is just a very small sample of the variety of beetroot available from seed catalogues, garden centres and the internet.

Blankoma – This unusual beetroot is white and a fine, globe-shape, more like a dull diamond than a deep ruby. It is rumoured to have a better taste than the red variety.


Cylindra – Another unusual shape – cylindrical! Therefore, it is very easy to slice and unlike other beets doesn’t have the usual rings. A sweet variety that stores well.


Globe-2 – This variety is the familiar globe type – often used in exhibitions. Crisp and dark.


Kestral – A dark red hybrid that can be picked early for its small beets, or left to grow on for larger globes.


Red Ace – A round or oval variety of dark red colour. Vigorous and strong grower, doing well in most soils, particularly in dry seasons.

Finds seeds online

These varieties are available from Amazon
Beet Blankoma, Beta vulgaris 200 Open Pollinated Seeds by David's Garden Seeds

Sweet white roots. An improved, white-rooted beet for specialty markets. Round to slightly conical white roots, with strong, tall, all-green tops. David's Garden Seeds is a Vete...

View on Amazon

Seeds and Things Beet Seeds "Cylindra" 200+ Seeds the Sweetest Beet You'll Ever Eat!

Cylindra Beets have a sweet and tender with that melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Its cylindrical shape permits high productivity and especially adapts to slicing and pickling. Averag...

View on Amazon

Beet Red Ace, Beta vulgaris 500 Hybrid Seeds by David's Garden Seeds

The best all-around red beet. Round, smooth, deep red roots grow rapidly and uniformly. Sweet and tender, even when older. Medium-tall, red-veined greens for bunching. Sized see...

View on Amazon

How to Grow Beetroot

Beetroot is an easy crop, but the slugs and snails love it! So keep an eye out and take protective measures against these slippery customers. Once they start munching on the delicious leaves the root doesn’t stand a chance. Sprinkling crushed egg shells along the seed row helps to deter them. Using a biological nematode control or organic slug pellets will all help keep slugs and snails at bay.

But, as every gardener knows, sometimes there is no substitute for going out at night with a torch and catching those critters in the act!

In short -  examine the area carefully and take no prisoners!

OK - let's get cracking!


  • Prepare the soil by breaking it down with a fork, sieving it if needed. Beets are, of course, root vegetables so their growth can be impeded by large obstacles such as stones and pebbles.


  • It’s also perfectly possible to grow a great crop of beets in good-sized containers, filled with John Innes No.2 compost or fine garden soil. With their attractive leaves they make an excellent addition to the garden.
  • Sow the seed from mid-April to late June in a 2cm deep drill about 10cm apart. It’s a good idea to sow two seeds together which could be thinned out later on, just to ensure a good crop.


  • For an early beetroot crop, sow the seeds in March under cloches for warmth. Bringing them on like this could encourage too much leaf and too little root so be sure to choose a variety of beet that is resistant to bolting.


  • Once planted, water the row gently and at regular intervals thereafter. Beets love water – it prevents that woody texture that some beets get and also stops the root from splitting.

How to Harvest Beetroot

Generally speaking, spherical or global varieties of beetroot are ready to harvest after around ten weeks. Cylindrical varieties can take up to four months. Check the seed packet.

Harvest the beetroot crop when the roots are still quite small for tasty, succulent baby beets which can be pickled or eaten with salad. It's best not to allow the globes to grow larger than, say, a cricket ball or they tend to lose their flavour and smooth texture.

When harvesting, grasp the stalks firmly near the top of the root and pull out of the soil, or gently ease away the soil with a trowel, being careful not to damage the root.

How to Store Beetroot

Only store undamaged roots to prevent disease or rot setting in. Lay them in boxes separated by sand or peat in a cool, dark place. Hopefully they will last right through winter and into the following March.

Alternatively, beetroot makes wonderful pickles too and there is nothing more satisfying than a sparkling row of jewel-red beets, especially if they are home made!




Beetroot is a wonderful vegetable, so sweet and so versatile.  It's a great addition to the home vegetable garden.  Oh, and don't forget those beet tops - they are delicious!


Some More Beet-Related Items

Updated: 01/04/2014, KathleenDuffy
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KathleenDuffy on 01/11/2014

Hello Mira! Thanks so much for pinning my article! I appreicate that! :)

Mira on 01/11/2014

Pinned onto my Gardening board. (I'm going back to some articles I've read to pin them.)

KathleenDuffy on 01/06/2014

Thank you cmoneyspinner! I haven't got my head round hash-tagging - so thanks for your help! :)

cmoneyspinner on 01/06/2014

Shared to Pinterest. Hope the hashtags help.

KathleenDuffy on 01/04/2014

Hi Frank - It's lovely having an allotment isn't it. I had one for a few years but unfortunately had to give it up due to health problems. So glad you are out there carrying on the good work and enjoying it!

frankbeswick on 01/04/2014

Kathleen, you have hit the nail on the head. Just today I was on the allotment, refurbishing the soil in the raised beds and harvesting carrots, and the size of them gave me great pleasure.The joy of gardening! I am looking to Spring and am coming alive with the joy of it all.

Mira, beetroot can be white, as many vegetables can be varied in colour. I was on the shore on the isle of Anglesey over the weekend, and I saw its ancestor, Seabeet, growing wild on the beach. So innocuous, so powerful in its fertility, and to think that so much came from this innocent looking plant.

KathleenDuffy on 01/04/2014

ologsinquito - Yes, you are right! That's the beauty of loving plants and gardening - you are always looking beyond the winter months to spring!

KathleenDuffy on 01/04/2014

Mira - I boil the fresh beetroot whole, for about half an hour, leaving about 2 inches of the leaves on. You can also bake them in the oven for a couple of hours too - I haven't done this yet! I am not sure about white beetroot, not having tried them!

ologsinquito on 01/04/2014

It's hard to believe, but now is the time to start thinking about gardening and what you'll need to grow your own vegetables.

Mira on 01/04/2014

I use beetroot in one of my favorite baked veggies dish. They add a lot a flavor and are wonderful baked, I think. I've also tasted them this Christmas with horseradish, vinegar, salt, and cumin. I didn't know beeroot can also be white! Just like carrots and tomatoes, I guess: it can take a surprising color -- and shape: I've only seen round beets.
I'd be curious to learn how you cook beetroot!

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