If you are planning on growing beets in your garden this year, you might be\nwondering how big they will get. That way, you can plan the number of\nplants and the amount of space you will need for your crop of beets.\n\n\n\nSo, how big do beets get? Beet plants grow 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61\ncentimeters) tall, 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 centimeters) wide, and produce\nroots that are 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10.2 centimeters) in diameter.\n\n\n\nOf course, the quality of your beets (if you get any at all!) depends on the\ncare that you give your plants. Let\u2019s take a closer look at beets,\nincluding size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.\n\n\n\nHow Big Do Beets Get?\n\n\n\nBeet greens (the stalks and leaves) can grow to a height of\n8 to 24 inches (20 to 61 centimeters) above the soil, with a width of 4 to 12\ninches (10 to 30 centimeters).\n\n\n\nBeet roots can grow up to 4 inches in diameter, and the greens can be up to 24 inches long.\n\n\n\nThe average size of a beet is 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Some larger varieties of beets can grow up to\n4 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter.\n\n\n\nHowever, you will want to harvest your beets before they grow too\nlarge. Otherwise, you will get beets with tough roots that are difficult\nto eat.\n\n\n\nHow Long Does It Take Beets to Grow?\n\n\n\nSome beets, such as Merlin beets from Burpee, can mature in as little as 48 days, while some take up to 70 days to mature! Most beets take 50 to 60 days to mature.\n\n\n\nAccording to Michigan State University, beets seeds will germinate in 5 to 21 days, assuming proper moisture and ideal soil temperature of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 29.4 degrees Celsius).\n\n\n\nHow Do You Know When to Pick Beets?\n\n\n\nFor most beet varieties, you can harvest them when the roots\nare 1.5 to 3 inches (3.8 to 7.6 centimeters) in diameter at the surface of the\nsoil.\n\n\n\nIf you let your beets get much bigger than this, they will\nbecome tough.\n\n\n\nYou can expect about 1 pound of beets per foot of row\nplanted.\n\n\n\nRemember that the beet greens (stalks and leaves) are even more nutritious than the beet roots themselves! You can harvest beet greens at 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) tall and use them for greens in salad, or cook them as you would spinach.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out this article on beets from Burpee.\n\n\n\nWhy Are My Beets So Small?\n\n\n\nBeets will grow small if you provide too much nitrogen in the soil or give\nthe plant too much shade.\n\n\n\nIn both cases, the beet plant will grow large leaves at the expense of the\nroot. Avoid adding too much nitrogen or planting beets in the shade of\ntrees and other tall crops in your garden.\n\n\n\nWhat Do Beets Look Like?\n\n\n\nBeets are roots that grow in the ground. Most are small and round or bulb-shaped. Beets can be red, pink, purple, or even golden\nyellow on the outside, with similar coloring on the inside.\n\n\n\nBeets send up stalks with leaves on them (greens). These greens can be used in salads, but you\nwill want to harvest them at 4 to 6 inches tall for this purpose.\n\n\n\nAre Beets Hard to Grow?\n\n\n\nBeets like full sun, so make sure you do not plant them in the shade of\ntrees or other crops in your garden. Otherwise, you will get beet plants\nwith large leaves and small roots.\n\n\n\nWhen beets get too much nitrogen, the greens will grow large, but the roots will stay small.\n\n\n\nLike carrots, beets are grown mainly for the roots, which need loose, sandy\nsoil without too many rocks or soil clumps. \nThis will allow your beets to grow without obstruction. The soil should have a pH between 6.0 and\n6.8.\n\n\n\nThere are many other factors that affect beet growth, including temperature,\nwatering, fertilizing, and spacing. Let\u2019s start with temperature.\n\n\n\nTemperature for Beets\n\n\n\nThe minimum temperature for beet seed germination is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius). If the soil is any colder than this, you will see low germination rates \u2013 that is, if you can get any seeds at all to germinate!\n\n\n\nThis is nature\u2019s way of protecting beet seeds from sprouting at a time when\nthey will be unable to survive. This is why it is suggested that you\nstart beet seeds indoors to avoid cold soil temperatures in early spring.\n\n\n\nThe maximum temperature for beet seed germination is 95 degrees Fahrenheit\n(35 degrees Celsius). If the soil is any warmer than this, germination\nrates will decrease.\n\n\n\nCombined with high humidity, high temperatures can encourage the growth of\nmold, which is another threat to your plants. So, don\u2019t wait too long to\nplant your beet seeds and transplant your established plants outside!\n\n\n\nYou should show beet seeds directly into the soil outdoors, 2 to 3 weeks\nbefore the last spring frost date.\n\n\n\nYou can find the frost dates for your area on the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac\nwebsite.\n\n\n\nYou can start seeds indoors if the growing season is short where you\nlive. However, remember that it is easy to disturb the roots of beets\nwhen transplanting them outside.\n\n\n\nThe ideal (optimal) temperature for beet seed germination is between 65\ndegrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4\ndegrees Celsius).\n\n\n\nKeep in mind that these temperatures refer to soil temperature, not air\ntemperature. If you want to find out the soil temperature, use a\nprobe-type thermometer to check.\n\n\n\nIf the thermometer reads a temperature that is too low, then you have some\noptions. One option is to wait until the sun warms up the soil.\n\n\n\nTo speed up this process, clear away any debris, such as leaves or grass\nclippings, from the soil surface. Also make sure to choose a location for\nplanting that gets plenty of sun, so that it can warm up the soil faster.\n\n\n\nIf you are worried about a short growing season, you can also use a cloche\n(a plastic or glass cover) to trap some heat and warm up the air and soil near\nyour beet seeds.\n\n\n\nA cloche can be made from a plastic water bottle to retain warmth and\nhumidity in the soil for seeds or seedlings as they grow. \n\n\n\nFor more information, check out the table below, and check out this\narticle from the University of California on ideal seed germination\ntemperatures.\n\n\n\n\n Seed \n Germination \n Temperature\n \n Temperature \n (degrees \n Fahrenheit)\n \n Temperature \n (degrees \n Celsius)\n \n Minimum\n \n 40\n \n 4.4\n \n Ideal\n \n 65 to 85\n \n 18.3 to 29.4\n \n Maximum\n \n 95\n \n 35\n \n\n\n\nWatering for Beets\n\n\n\nAccording to Utah State University, moisture fluctuations can cause cracking in beet roots.\n\n\n\nUneven watering will cause beets to crack.\n\n\n\nPutting mulch on top of your soil will help to retain moisture, especially\nduring periods of hot, dry weather. If you find that you have a problem\nwith dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, over watering your beet plants (or any plants for that\nmatter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide\nwhen to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.\n\n\n\nIf the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and\nwater. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.\n\n\n\nTry to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to\nsoak into the soil. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold,\nand diseases.\n\n\n\nFertilizing for Beets\n\n\n\nAdding compost to your soil before planting beets is a good way to improve\ndrainage for clay soil, improve water retention for sandy soil, and add\nnutrients to your garden.\n\n\n\nCompost adds organic material and nutrients to your soil, and can be made from kitchen scraps and yard waste.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on making compost.\n\n\n\nBeets are a heavy feeder, so you may need to use a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, before planting. According to the Texas A&M University Extension, you should apply 1 cup of fertilizer per 10 feet of beets planted.\n\n\n\nHowever, avoid excessive nitrogen, since too much will cause\nbeet greens to grow large and lush at the expense of the roots.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on over fertilizing your plants.\n\n\n\nA similar warning applies if you use manure in your garden \u2013 be sure to let\nit decompose completely before applying it to your plants, or else you can burn\nthem with salts from the animal waste.\n\n\n\nSpacing for Beets\n\n\n\nSow beet seeds directly into the garden, at a depth of 0.5\nto 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 centimeters). \nLeave 1 inch between seeds, and leave 12 to 18 inches between rows of\nbeets. This will leave space to make weeding,\nwatering, and harvesting easier.\n\n\n\nWhen beet plants are 2 inches tall, thin them to 3 inches\napart (4 plants per foot). This is\nnecessary because every beet \u201cseed\u201d is actually a cluster containing several\nseeds.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out this article on beets from the University of Maryland Extension.\n\n\n\nFinally, make sure to weed carefully, especially when your\nbeet plants are small. The young roots\nare sensitive and can be damaged easily when pulling up weeds.\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\n\nNow you have a much better idea of how big beets get, in terms of both the root below ground and the stalks above ground.\u00a0 You also know a bit more about the care that is necessary to ensure a healthy crop of beets in this year\u2019s garden.\n\n\n\nYou might also want to read my article on fall planting for cool weather crops.\n\n\n\nI hope you found this article helpful \u2013 if so, please share it with someone\nelse who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice\nabout beets, please leave a comment below.