How Do I Grow Sugar Beet Seeds?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

In many cases, growing vegetables from seed, especially sugar beet seeds, is a relatively simple process. With sugar beets, you must consider the soil for planting, properly space the seeds, thin the seedlings when the time comes and know when to harvest your crop. Mature sugar beets have several uses, such as using the greens for salads and other dishes, and the root itself is an excellent addition to other root vegetable dishes and can be used as animal feed as well. The immature plants you pull up when thinning your seedlings can be used in salads or cooked like spinach.

Sugar beets do well in almost any climate.
Sugar beets do well in almost any climate.

This type of vegetable does well in almost any climate or region, but you can ask a local nursery for suggestions on the best varieties for your area. Sugar beets like rich soil, so adding manure or compost will make them more likely to thrive. After the soil is ready to go, it is important to properly place the seeds to promote good growth. Two or three sugar beet seeds should be placed in shallow rows in the soil a short distance from each other.

Sugar beet seeds will grow rather quickly.
Sugar beet seeds will grow rather quickly.

Most gardening experts recommend planting the seeds as soon as you are able to turn the soil in the spring. The soil should be kept moist but not too wet. You can expect to see sprouting in two to three weeks, in most cases.

Sugar beet seeds grow fairly quickly and after they reach about 3 inches (7.6 cm) in height, it is necessary to thin the crop a bit. The remaining plants will have plenty of room and nutrients to continue the growth process to full height. Leaving about 4 inches (10.2 cm) between plants is recommended. From this stage, the only task left for growing a successful crop of sugar beet seeds is to keep the soil moist and free of weeds.

By mid-summer, the plants are beginning to develop sugar in their roots and will reach a height of 12-24 inches (30-61 cm). These plants typically are considered to be fully mature after about 45 days. The correct harvest time depends on your intended purpose for your crop. If you are using it for animal feed, the roots can remain in the soil until you need them or until the ground starts to freeze, but if you are planning to eat them yourself, they should be harvested after about 45 days.

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