Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Beet

Family: Goosefoot

Seed Varieties:
  • Red Ace - This is a standard beet variety with deep red, tender flesh and crisp greens. It has grown with great success.
  • Chiogga - This is a specialty variety with concentric circles of white and bright red coloring the flesh. It is a very sweet beet, and is delicious roasted.
Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession: 3/19 in open 200s Summer succession: 5/16 in open 200s Fall Succession: 6/1 in open 200s

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Spring Succession: 4/15 into 38s Summer Succession: 6/12 into 38s Fall Succession: 6/28 into 38s

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Transplant into the garden three days after transplanting in the greenhouse (4/18, 6/15, 7/1). Beet seedlings should be planted 3in apart with 3 rows per bed.

Planting Tips:

Be sure to plant the beet seedlings deeply or they will begin to push out of the soil as the beet develops.

Plant Needs:

Beets need standard cultivation and watering. Be sure to stay on top of the weeding early on, so the growth does not become stunted. Also, as the beets develop, the tops may begin to push out of the soil. If this should happen, it is important to cover them up, or mice may chew them.

Cultivation Techniques:

Because beets are planted so closely together, and they are easily disturbed from the earth, cultivation by hand is really the only option, and should be done diligently to promote healthy growth of the beets.

Pests and Pest Control:

The main problem encountered with beets has been mice chewing the beets when the tops push out of the soil. Keeping the weeds under control helps a great deal, and mousetraps can also be set in the beet bed.

Harvest Techniques:

When the beets are of size, pull them up gently by the leaves, shaking off excess dirt and discarding any that are chewed. Wash them, and trim off straggly roots with a knife. Make bunches of 4-6 for sale.


After they are washed and bunched, store beets in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. If they are to be kept for more than overnight, cut off the greens to use or blanch and freeze. Beets can also be pickled.


Sell with greens still on for $2.50 a bunch for retail and $0.75 per pound for wholesale.


Raw Beetroot Salad with Dill and Mustard Seeds

500 grams raw beetroot
1 lemon
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp mustard seeds, toasted
Fresh parsley, chopped Maldon sea salt

Peel the beets and grate finely either by hand or in a food processor. Add chopped dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Toast mustard seeds on a small dry frying pan, until they start 'popping' - it'll take only few seconds, so don't go anywhere! Add mustard seeds to the salad, season with salt and garnish with plenty of parsley. Add grated carrots, and steamed beet greens for a tasty variation.

From the Kitchen of Meredith Bonham