If you run a homestead (large or small) you likely have plans to start seeds for a garden. And if you want to include beets and turnips in your garden, it’s high time you learn the answer to the question, “How to plant beets and turnips” (as well as future care).
Planting beets and turnips (plus caring for beets and turnips) is actually not that complicated. There are just a few things you need to keep in mind as you go along.
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Are You Planning To Include Beets and Turnips In Your Garden?
Are you planning to include beets and turnips in your garden? Beets and turnips are just one example of the huge variety of fruits and veggies you can include in your garden.
If you are looking for an easy way to keep track of your garden plans, you might benefit from these free Garden Planning Worksheets. They will make planning your garden a breeze!
When planting beets and turnips, you’re going to want to pick a beet variety that will best suit your gardening needs.
Here are just a few available beet varieties. Do your research to determine which one will be best for you.
- Bull’s Blood
- Detroit Dark Red
- Golden Beets
- Golden Detroit
- Moulin Rouge
- Red Ace
- Ruby Queen
- White Detroit
Turnip varieties, like beet varieties, are very diverse. Research different varieties to determine which will work best in your garden.
Here are just a few examples of popular turnip varieties:
- Purple Top
- Scarlet Queen
- Baby Bunch
- White Lady
- Gold Ball
- Tokyo Cross
- White Egg
Related – Beets Vs Turnips
How To Plant Beets and Turnips From Seed
When planting beets and turnips, because they are a cool-season crop, it is best to plant them in the early Spring when the weather is still a bit cool and hot weather is still several weeks off. Be sure to plant beets and turnips in a well-drained location as soon as the ground or loose soil is able to be worked.
As a root crop, beets and turnips will need to be planted in an area with full sun that only gets partial shade.
Beets and turnips are root vegetables and thus will do best when planted in soil that has been enriched with organic material such as compost, mulch, or chicken/rabbit poop. As germination begins and the seeds begin to sprout, this organic material will ensure your seeds and plants are as strong and healthy as possible.
As you plant your beet and turnip seeds in your vegetable garden, press the soil firmly over the seeds so they stay moist and protected. Sow seeds sparingly and repeat every three weeks or so for as long as the weather is cool.
As they grow, thin seedlings that have sprouted so that you have the proper spacing between your plants. For most beets and turnips, the spacing will need to be around two to three inches apart.
If desired, a second crop can be planted in late July for a second, Fall harvest. Because of the short growing season, you can get a late Spring as well as Fall harvest out of them.
Caring For Beets and Turnips
As your beet plants and turnip plants begin to grow, ensure you keep the area free of weeds. Provide these root vegetables with plenty of water so the soil stays nice and moist.
Fertilize your beets and turnips with organic material such as compost, vegetable food, or chicken/rabbit poop every four weeks for optimal health.
If you live in a warmer climate, you will want to use row covers to keep your root vegetables from getting too warm. The trick is in accomplishing this while still allowing them plenty of sunshine. (Try to cover during the hottest parts of the day and uncover in the morning and evening.)
Harvesting Beets and Turnips
Beets and turnips will be ready to harvest in about 60 days. The best time to harvest them will depend on the variety you planted.
When beets and turnips are about two inches above the ground, you can pull the entire plant. Smaller plants can be pulled as part of the thinning process.
When your beets and turnips are ready for harvest, gently dig around them with a spade or shovel. Leave a few leaves attached so they won’t dry out while still in the ground.
Refrigerate your beets and turnips as soon as possible. Beets and turnips (including beet greens and turnip greens) can also be eaten raw so you can enjoy your harvest however you want!
You can store beets and turnips long-term in a root cellar or other cool, dark place. Alternatively, you can store beets and turnips for up to 8 months in the freezer or you can turn to pickling for longer-term storage.
Collecting Beet Seeds (and Turnip Seeds)
Beets and turnips are biennial plants which means they will produce the seed stalk the second year rather than the first. If you want to collect beet seeds and turnip seeds from your vegetable plants, refrain from harvesting certain stalks until the end of the second year.
The plants you choose to leave for a second year will need to be kept cool and moist for the entire time.
Protect first-year roots from winter freezing by burying the entire plant in sand or mulch.
You can expect seed heads to begin forming after the summer growth. Once seeds have matured and have partial dried on the stalk, gather the seeds before they fall to the ground.
Once harvested, you can complete the seed drying process by laying them out at room temperature. Once fully dried, you can store beet seeds and turnip seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them once more. Keep them in a plastic bag so they don’t get lost or contaminated.
Free Garden Planning Worksheets
Do you need help planning out your garden? It’s never too early (nor too late) to start planning your garden.
We can help take the stress, anxiety and overwhelm out of garden planning with our free Garden Planning Worksheets.
Make planning your garden easier than ever with your very own copy!
Learn what’s inside the free printable gardening planner here.
More Gardening Resources
For more gardening resources and ideas, check out the following resources:
Charlene has been dabbling in and learning about the homesteading lifestyle for almost 20 years. She recently started a real-world homestead with her extended family and is excited to share 20+ years of knowledge and experience with the world!
While she certainly doesn't know everything about homesteading and is learning more every day, she is excited to learn and grow along with YOU!
Charlene blogs about about homesteading at https://secretlifeofhomesteaders.com/.