To grow beets in a raised bed, first position your raised bed where it will receive 4–5 hours of direct, morning sunlight each day. Then, fill the raised bed with a mixture of compost, sandy topsoil, and potting mix. Once your soil is in place, plant beets in rows, water until they sprout, and thin the sprouts so that you have one plant every 4 inches (10 cm). Keep the soil where your beets are growing moist until they’re ready to harvest.
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7 Steps to Grow Beets in Raised Beds
Beets are an easily planted crop that is tolerant of many soil types. They are a great choice for growing raised beds. If you’re a beginning beet grower, here’s how to raise a delicious crop in your raised bed.
Beets require 4–5 hours of direct sunlight per day, preferably in the morning. So, it’s best to position your raised bed in an east-facing location. A raised bed on the east side of a home or fence will receive morning sun, followed by the afternoon shade beets need.
- Position your raised bed where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Beets need 5 hours of direct sunlight in the day, preferably in the morning.
- Hot temperatures can harm beets, so avoid exposing them to harsh afternoon sun.
For more information on beet sunlight needs and the signs of undersunned beets, check out our sun exposure guide for beets. Beets typically grow best in cool conditions. So, exposing them to direct sunlight during the cool, morning hours results in the healthiest plants.
Beets don’t need a lot of space, so you can grow them in a small raised bed. A 2-foot-by-2-foot raised bed can grow up to 15 beet plants. Unlike large, vining vegetables, beets don’t need a lot of space to grow. The size of raised bed you choose all depends on how many beets you plan on growing.
- Beets can be grown in very small garden beds.
- You can grow up to 4 beet plants per square foot.
- Consider planting beets in a large raised bed shared by lettuce, cabbage, radishes, or other companion plants.
Beets can also be grown in larger beds alongside companion plants. Onions, lettuce, cabbage, and even catnip are great companions to beets. So, you can use a small part of a large raised bed to grow as many beets as you like.
All varieties of beets are heavy feeders, so you’ll need to plant them in fertile soil. To do this, mix compost into your raised bed soil. Ideally, your raised bed should contain 6 parts soil, 3 parts aged compost, and 1 part potting soil with perlite. Beets grow best in well-draining soil, so the potting mix is essential.
- Beets require a lot of soil nutrients, so make sure to mix compost into your soil prior to planting.
- Ideally, compost should make up 30% of the soil in your raised bed for beets.
- Mix a small amount of potting soil into your raised bed to improve drainage.
- If possible, use sandy soil to promote healthy, easily-harvested beets.
When preparing your raised bed, make sure the soil is loose. If you can, choose slightly sandy soil. Sandy soil drains quickly, which keeps your beets healthy. It also makes harvesting beet roots easier when the soil is loose and sandy.
Plant beet seeds in rows in your raised beds. Seeds should be planted 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Make sure seeds are planted 4 inches (10 cm) away from the walls of the raised bed. If you are growing more than one row of beets, space the rows 8 inches (20 cm) apart. This provides adequate space for beets to grow.
- Plant beet seeds in rows with 2 inches (5 cm) between seeds.
- Beet seeds should be planted 4 inches (10 cm) from the walls of the raised bed.
- Space rows of beets 8 inches apart (20 cm).
- Plant your beet seeds 0.5 inches (1 cm) under the soil surface.
- Water immediately after planting.
Plant beet seeds ½-inch (1 cm) below the soil surface. Shallow planting ensures more of the seeds will sprout and break the surface. Water your beet seeds after planting. Then, keep the soil in the raised bed moist (but not soggy) until the beets begin to sprout.
Young Plant Care
Once your beet sprouts reach 3–5 inches (7.5–13 cm) tall, thin the sprouts until you have 1 baby beet plant every 4 inches (10 cm) along each row. To avoid disturbing the soil, use a sharp pair of scissors to snip off undesirable sprouts at the soil level.
- Once your beet seeds sprout and reach 3–5 inches (7.5–13 cm) tall, they should be thinned.
- Remove excess beet sprouts until you have 1 sprout every 4 inches (10 cm) along each row.
- Use scissors to snip undesirable sprouts at the soil level.
Keep in mind that because beat seeds contain 2–3 germs, it’s common to have several baby plants sprout where you planted each seed. In this case, choose the strongest of the sprouts and snip off the others. If you skip this step, your beets will compete for soil nutrients and struggle to grow strong.
To precisely water your beets, follow our strategic beet watering guide. As a rule, beets need water once per week in cloudy and cool weather. Then, their watering needs increase to 2–3 watering sessions per week in hot or sunny weather.
- When the weather is cloudy, water your beets once each week.
- Once the weather becomes warm and sunny, increase watering frequency to 2–3 times per week.
- Water beets once the soil is dry to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
Beets prefer their soil moist, but not wet. Once the top 3 inches (7.5 cm) of soil feel dry to the touch, it’s time to water your beets again. By following these simple watering rules, you’ll grow a healthy beet plant on your first try.
To harvest beet roots, keep an eye on the root bulb at the leaf base. For delicious baby beets, harvest once the bulb is the size of a golf ball. For large beets, wait until the bulbs reach the size of a tennis ball. If you allow the beets to grow larger than this, they will become tough, woody, and inedible.
- Harvest baby beets when the beet root bulb is golf ball sized.
- Mature beets should be harvested once they reach tennis ball size.
- If beets are allowed to grow too large, they will become inedible.
- Periodically harvest 1–2 leaves from each plant to get a harvest of beet greens throughout the season.
Beet greens can also be harvested throughout the season. They are a delicious addition to many recipes. To harvest beet greens, simply take 1–2 outer leaves off each plant every few weeks. Use a knife or scissors to snip off the leaves 1 inch (2.5 cm) above soil level. By harvesting a few leaves from each plant you get to enjoy fresh greens without harming your beet harvest.
Do Beets Grow Well in Raised Beds?
Beets are an excellent choice for raised beds and small gardens. Because you can grow many beet plants in a relatively small raised bed, it’s easy to start growing beets. If you’re already growing other vegetables, beets make a great companion plant.
- Beets are one of the best choices for raised beds because many beets can be grown in a small space.
- You can easily have a beet patch in a raised bed with other vegetable varieties.
- Replant beets as you harvest them to have fresh veggies all season.
Beets are a great choice for raised beds because you can grow several beet crops throughout the season. Whenever you harvest a row of beets, simply plant another row of seeds in its place. This way, you can get a lot of fresh vegetables from a single garden bed.
How Deep Should a Raised Bed Be for Beets?
When growing beets, do not use a raised bed with a hard bottom. Beets can send roots down as far as 48 inches (120 cm). To encourage proper growth, allow beet roots to extend down below the raised bed, into the soil beneath.
- Raised beds for beets should not have a hard bottom.
- Beets grow roots as deep as 48 inches (120 cm), so the roots should be allowed to reach the soil below the raised bed.
- If you want to build a beet bed with a hard bottom, make sure it is 48 inches deep.
As long as you do not have a bottom on your raised bed, you can make the bed as deep or shallow as you like. If you absolutely must grow beets in a raised bed with a hard bottom, make sure the bed is at least 48 inches deep.
Can You Grow Beets in a Raised Bed?
Growing beets in a raised bed can produce a large harvest by following these steps:
- Position your raised bed where it receives 4–5 hours of morning sun daily.
- Beets can be grown in small spaces, so you can use any size of raised bed.
- Fill your raised bed with a mixture of topsoil, compost, and potting soil.
- Plant beet seeds in rows 8 inches (20 cm) apart.
- Once your beet sprouts begin to grow, thin them until you have one plant every 4 inches (10 cm) along each row.
- Water beets whenever the soil is dry at a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
- Harvest baby beets, mature beets, and beet greens throughout the season.
By mixing plenty of organic matter into the soil, you provide the fuel beets need to grow. This will cause the beet varieties you plant to flourish. Then, you can continue to make successive plantings to replace beets as you harvest them.