I have some beet seeds I’d like to plant. Should I start them inside first?
Although you could start beets (Beta vulgaris) early inside before the soil warms up, at this time of year it makes most sense to sow them directly into the soil outside. Beets are a cool season crop so you’ll want to get them growing before the hot summer months.
Plant the seeds ½ inch deep and between 1 and 2 inches apart. Make sure the soil is moist during germination, which will take one to two weeks. Beets do best in full sun but will also grow in partial shade.
You’ll probably need to thin them, because you may get more than one seedling from each seed. Do it when they’re about 2 inches high by pinching them off. Don’t pull them out because beets have shallow roots, and pulling might disturb the roots of the seedlings next to them.
Mulch your beets and keep the soil moist. There should be about 3 to 4 inches between plants.
You can harvest beet greens after they’re about 6 inches tall and the beets themselves after 7 to 10 weeks.
See this Toronto Master Gardener response to another question about beets, for more information: