Beets are cool-season root crops that are easy and simple to grow from USDA zones 2 to 10. However, if you don’t remember or overlook the cultivation basics, then it can end up with stunted growth, or not even forming roots at all. This happens to gardeners frequently, which leaves them wondering: My beets sprouted but not growing, why?
You’re not alone, as beets and their plants do come across various problems. Read on to find the reasons why your beets aren’t growing as expected and what you can do to help them thrive.
My Beets Sprouted but Not Growing: Why?
Beets are a favorite garden vegetable, known for their ease of growth and the harvest being a nutritious source of vitamins A and C. You can do a lot with beets, whether pickle it, cook whole, even eat raw or blend it in vegetable smoothies and juices.
That is why it can be disappointing seeing your beets not grow as well as you expected them to. So, why does it happen anyway? Here are some of the reasons why:
1. They are Cool-Season Root Crops
Beets are known for being a cool-season root crop, meaning it is a winter crop, growing best when exposed to cooler temperatures.
However, gardeners would mistake that beet plants can be grown during the winter, no matter where they are. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You have to ensure that the soil and air temperature would match the growth conditions of your plant, which is between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. This would mean that the times you plant your beets will depend on the specific temperature.
For instance, if you live further south, then it’s best to plant beets later in the winter instead.
2. The Soil is TOO Acidic
Beet plants might not grow well because of the soil quality and its pH levels. If your soil is too acidic, then the beets won’t grow efficiently, or even grow at all. This is because the plants prefer soil pH levels between 6.5 to 7.5. If it is too alkaline or acidic, plant growth will be affected, with your plants struggling to absorb the necessary nutrients and minerals from the soil.
Check the soil pH levels with a soil test. If you find that the soil is too acidic, there are different ways to neutralize the pH levels, such as adding limestone.
3. Pests Eat Your Beets
Beet plants may not grow because they weren’t given the chance to grow from the start. Unfortunately, there are a lot of garden pests that love to feast on beet plants, including aphids, flea beetles, cabbage loppers, and more. Some pests would eat the beet seedlings, while others eat the leaves.
Not to worry, as there are ways to get rid of these irritating pests! Since you’ll be eating beets after harvesting, it’s best to use natural remedies to ensure your vegetables aren’t laced with any harmful toxins. Depending on the pest you are removing, you can find a lot of pest control remedies, such as dish soap and water mixture, a tomato leaf juice spray, or even spraying the pests away with a jet stream from your garden hose!
4. Planted in Loose Soil
Beets don’t grow well not only in acidic soil but in heavy and clay soil, or soil that has a crust on top. Heavy soil would prevent beet roots from growing larger.
Beets will grow best in loose and well-drained loamy or sandy soil. If ever you have garden soil that is too heavy or forms surface crusts, then you can cover your seeds with commercial potting soil, sawdust, or vermiculite (1/8-inch layer). This will help maintain moisture on the seeds without forming crusts.
Besides this, you must maintain the moisture of your soil. The high temperature would dry out the soil, which would affect the plant’s growth. Beets require moisture to germinate, so to retain the soil moisture even during hot weather, cover your seeds with a row cover or grass clippings.
5. The Plants are Overcrowded
Another reason why beets don’t grow despite sprouting is that the plants weren’t thinned well and are overcrowded. If beet seedlings weren’t thinned early on and in proper manners, then the roots would end up being too small or not form at all.
Make sure that you thin the beet seedlings about 1-2 inches apart a week before it germinates. Do this by removing some seedlings for the ones that remain are 1-2 inches apart. You’ll need to thin them again after a few weeks, this time being 3-4 inches apart.
Wrapping It Up
When you notice that your beets sprouted but don’t grow, there are a couple of reasons why, and it would usually boil down to not giving it its optimum requirements. Once you identify the main cause and give your beets what it needs, you will start to see it flourish and grow as expected. That is when you can enjoy delicious beets straight from your garden, creating them into awesome dishes!
Hopefully, this list of reasons why beets sprout but don’t grow helped you find out why yours aren’t doing as well as expected. Rule out any diseases and conditions, then let your beets start to grow for your enjoyment. Good luck!