UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Edible Plants

Beets, growing

golden beet
Plant beets from seed directly into the ground or into a container. Thin when they are about 2-4 inches high to allow adequate room for the root to develop. These thinnings can be eaten in salads. Pull beets to eat when the roots are the desired size. Beets can also be planted from transplants directly into the ground.

To have tender, tasty, beets, grow them in loose, rich, moist soil and in direct sun. Keep the moisture level consistent, and feed with a balanced fertilizer according to package directions.

Beets are well suited for growing in containers – they are easy to grow, quick to mature and can be resown for more than one harvest.  And if you grow from seeds, you can choose from among all the interesting varieties that are available – yellow, red and white striped, even cylindrical-shaped instead of round. You can begin harvesting the beets when they are about 1 inch in diameter, but you can also leave them in the ground and harvest them just before eating.

Young beet greens are also nutritious, and mild in flavor.

When to plant

Beets grow best in cool and mild temperatures but will also grow when it gets warmer.  It is best to plant early in the season so that they can be harvested prior to the heat of summer.  In southern California, beets can be planted beginning in January or February for harvest in spring, and then again in August for harvest in November or December.


There are red beets, yellow beets, red and white striped beets, and even cylindrical-shaped beets. Try something different.  Listed below are a few favorite varieties.

beets striped

Name Comments
Ruby Queen, AAS
Detroit Dark Red
Little Ball gourmet baby beet
Early Wonder
Burpee's Golden Beet for greens and root

AAS=all-America selection, hardy in most areas and resistant to diseases

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