So we planted a bed of beets some what early this year (March 17), and they...
So we planted a bed of beets some what early this year (March 17), and they all germinated and we’re growing alright. But they are still less than an inch tall now, 60 days later. I’m assuming they are probably shocked from the cold. So my question is, is it better to let them keep growing, or would we be better off pulling them out and starting new?
Cuyahoga County Ohio
Good Morning, Thanks for your question. It appears that you ask this same question yesterday and it was assigned to another Master Gardener Volunteer who has not yet had time to answer. You may receive two answers.
There are several reasons that might account for your slow beet growth. Beets are best planted only 30 days prior to the frost free date. In Cuyahoga County, that date is around May 15. That is the date when it is less than 50% chance of a frost after that time. You planted your beets on March 17, nearly 60 days before the frost free time.
That can account for the slow growth and development. While a cool season crop, the soil temperatures have not stayed at the same spot that they were in Mid-March. My temperatures would vary up to almost 15 degrees in that same time frame and I am in western Ohio.
I also had issues with emergence due to the rain we had. It crusted over the soil and slowed any growth of my early crops.
Now that it has begun to warm, the second planting that I did has nearly caught up with the first.
My suggestions to plant a second crop. If you have the space, you could leave the first to see if they develop.
Here is a fact sheet on beets from the University of Arkansas. While in a different growing zone, it has good information on the crop:
I trust this helps you with your decision on the beet crop. Thanks for using Ask a Master Gardener.