Beet Seed Planting: Can You Grow Beets From Seeds

Beetroot Seeds on Stalks
Image by Watcha

By Amy Grant

Beets are cool season veggies grown primarily for their roots, or occasionally for the nutritious beet tops. A fairly easy vegetable to grow, the question is how do you propagate beet root? Can you grow beets from seeds? Let’s find out.

Can You Grow Beets from Seeds?

Yes, the common method for propagation is via beet seed planting. Beetroot seed production is different in structure than other garden seeds.


Each seed is actually a group of flowers melded together by the petals, which create a multi-germ cluster. In other words, each “seed” contains two to five seeds; hence, beetroot seed production may engender multiple beet seedlings. Therefore, thinning a beet seedling row is crucial to a vigorous beet crop.

Most folks purchase beet seed from a nursery or greenhouse, but it’s possible to harvest your own seeds. First, wait until the beet tops have turned brown before attempting beet seed harvesting.

Next, cut 4 inches off the top of the beet plant and store these in a cool, dry area for two to three weeks to allow the seeds to ripen. The seed can then be stripped from the dried foliage by hand or placed in a bag and pounded. The chaff can be winnowed and the seeds plucked out.

Beet Seed Planting

Beet seed planting is usually direct seeded, but seeds can be started inside and transplanted later. Native to Europe, beets, or Beta vulgaris, are in the Chenopodiaceae family which includes chard and spinach, so crop rotation should be practiced, as they all use the same soil nutrients and to reduce the risk of passing potential disease down the line.

Prior to growing seeds of beets, amend the soil with 2-4 inches of well composted organic matter and work in 2-4 cups of an all purpose fertilizer (10-10-10- or 16-16-18) per 100 square feet. Work this all into the top 6 inches of soil.

Seeds can be planted after soil temps reach 40 degrees F. (4 C.) or over. Germination occurs within seven to 14 days, provided temperatures are between 55-75 F. (12-23 C.). Plant seed ½-1 inch deep and spaced 3-4 inches apart in rows 12-18 inches apart. Cover the seed lightly with soil and water gently.

Care of Beet Seedlings

Water the beet seedling regularly in the amount of about 1 inch of water per week, depending upon temps. Mulch around the plants to retain moisture; water stress within the first six weeks of growth will lead to premature flowering and low yields.

Fertilize with ¼ cup per 10 foot row with a nitrogen based food (21-0-0) six weeks after beet seedling emergence. Sprinkle the food along the side of the plants and water it in.

Thin the beets in stages, with the first thinning once the seedling is 1-2 inches tall. Remove any weak seedlings, cut rather than pull the seedlings, which will disturb the roots of abutting plants. You can use the thinned plants as greens or compost them.

Beet seedlings can be started inside prior to the last frost, which will reduce their harvest time by two to three weeks. Transplants do very well, so plant into the garden at the desired final spacing.

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