Beets grow best in full sun but tolerate partial shade. Beets mature in about 70 days with best color and quality obtained when temperatures are from 50 to 65 degrees. Beets tolerate mild freezes. Most soils are suitable but plants produce earlier on sandy loams. Work the soil deeply and remove stones or other debris that may cause deformed roots. On muck, the pH should be above 5.5 and on mineral soil above 6.5. Planting is done when the ground can be worked. The suggested planting time is the first part of April but beets can be planted at 2 week intervals from late March to mid-April. Plant seed 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows 18 inches apart. Six inch plants are thinned to 3 inch spacings with thinnings used as greens. Best seed germination occurs with a soil temperature between 65 and 75 degrees. If no other fertilizer was applied, use 3 cups of 5-10-10 per 50 feet of row. Rapid growth is essential for high quality beets. Give the plants a good soaking once a week and keep weeds controlled. A 2 inch mulch can be applied after thinning.
Harvest when beets are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Root size is a matter of personal preference. The tops are used for greens. Twist off the tops rather than cutting, to reduce the amount of bleeding.
Light colored zones are natural but are more pronounced in hot weather. The zones disappear during cooking.
Young plants bolt if exposed to 2 to 3 weeks of 50 degree temperatures after they have several leaves.