For early beets, you can start seeds indoors 3/15 (at 80°). Once leaves appear, grow plants at 72°. Transplant outside 5/1 (3” apart in rows 12” apart). Or, sow beet seeds outside anytime 5/15 – 8/1. Sow seeds ½” deep, 1.5” apart in rows 12” apart. Keep seeds consistently moist until germination. Days to germination: 5-7. Try interplanting radish seeds with beets which will be ready much earlier than the beets. Rocks and clods in soil will cause beets to be disfigured. Keep beets moist and well weeded. Beets will have the best flavor and texture when grown in cooler weather.
Check beets frequently and harvest them as soon as they are mature (as soon as they stop increasing in size). Some roots might not reach full size – harvest them too. Don’t let your beets stay in the ground too long – they will become tough and woody.
Beets are a difficult seed saving crop as they are a biennial. Sow seeds 8/1. Dig beet roots when mature in fall & select the best roots for the seed crop. Store beet roots over the winter at 34°-37° & 95% humidity. Plant beet roots outside as soon as the soil thaws, 30” apart and they will flower and produce seed over the summer. Beets are wind pollinated and cross-pollinated crops (isolation distance from other beets and chard is 1-2 miles). But since beets & chard don’t normally overwinter and flower you won’t usually need to worry about crossing unless 1) neighbors are saving beet/chard seeds or 2) you live near sugar beet fields which are usually GMO (sometimes sugar beet plants will bolt). Minimum population size: 25 plants.