Ideally, you want to harvest beetroot before they grow too large. If left too long, beetroots can develop a woody and fibrous texture, and lose some of their sweetness.
But harvesting beetroot is not as tricky as it sounds. Below we cover all you need to know.
When to harvest beetroot
Once you have planted beetroot seeds, it will take about 2 to 3 months for them to reach maturity.
You should keep track of the number of days since you sowed the seeds and compare that with the time suggested for your specific variety of beetroot.
There are also some other telltale signs that a beetroot is ready to come out of the ground, as discussed below.
How do you know beetroot is ready to harvest?
When the top of the root rises out of the soil, it means they are ready for harvest.
They should be around 5-7cm in diameter, although this will vary between varieties.
Pick them before they get too big. Beetroots that are left in the ground too long will start to lose their sweet taste and the texture will become more fibrous and woody.
How long does beetroot take to grow?
Most beetroot varieties take around 8 weeks to reach the size we want to harvest them at.
|Beetroot variety||Time to harvest||Root weight|
|Early Wonder||8 weeks||n/a|
|Bull’s Blood||8 weeks||90g|
How to harvest beetroot
The top of the beetroot raising out of the soil should give you a good indication of where the root is that you need to dig up.
Use a small garden trowel to gently work your way around the outside of the beetroot. Loosen the soil as you go and take care not to damage the root.
Once it is loose enough, you can use your hand to pull the beetroot out of the soil by the stems.
Once they are out of the soil, wash the dirt off your beetroots.
When you get them inside, it’s a good idea to weigh your beetroots to get an idea of whether your beetroots grew to their target size.
How to store beetroots after harvest
Once you’ve cleaned the dirt off your beets, leave them out somewhere with good airflow to dry completely.
Next, cut the greens off (put these in a salad!) leaving a little bit of a stem on each one.
You can then keep them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for up to three months, however, they are best consumed in the first few weeks.
If you have too many beets, consider pickling some of them. Pickled beetroot can be stored for six to eight months in the fridge.
Are beetroots easy to grow?
Beetroots are one of the easiest veges to grow in your backyard or raised planters.
Use our Beetroot Grow Guide to get started:
Grow Guide: Beetroot
|Plant type: Annual|
|Height: Up to 90cm|
|Climate: Suitable for most climates|
|How to plant beetroot|
|Soil: Well drained soil with compost and decomposed manure|
|Soil pH range: 6 to 7|
|Soil temperature: 10 to 25°C|
|Spacing needs: Plant a seed every 2cm then thin to 7cm spacing when they sprout.|
|Seed depth: 2cm|
|Germination days: 5 to 8 days|
|When to sow: Year round in warm areas, from July to March in temperate areas|
|Caring for beetroot|
|Sun: Full sun to partial shade|
|Water: Water regularly to keep soil moist|
|Feeding: Apply a seaweed-based fertiliser like Seasol (avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers)|
|Time to harvest: 2 to 3 months|
|When to harvest: The top of the beetroot will rise out of the soil when it is mature. Harvest before they grow too large (7cm max).|
Can you leave beets in the ground too long?
Beetroots should be picked before they get too big. Don’t let them stay in the ground too long or their sweet taste will start to fade, and their texture will become more fibrous and woody.