Beets are root vegetables that grow best in cooler climates. Direct sunlight and daily temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit are best for their development. Once they are harvested, the entire beet can be consumed. The root is best boiled or roasted, and the greens are generally either sauteed or served in a salad.
Loosen the top 2 inches of soil in the garden bed using a rake and tiller, and remove any rocks, roots and debris. Beets need loose, well-drained dirt to grow. Use a spade to dig rows that are about a half-inch deep and spaced anywhere from 12 to 18 inches apart.
Plant the beet seeds about an inch apart in the rows. Cover the seeds with dirt, filling in the row, and water the seeds lightly. The soil should be kept moist, but not drenched. Watering once daily should suffice; if the weather is hot and dry, supplemental watering might be necessary.
Thin the beets when the seedlings reach 3 to 4 inches tall. Thinning the plants means removing some sprouts so that the remaining plants can grow in straight and healthy. Pull the small, weaker-looking seedlings from the garden, thinning the plants down so that they are spaced 3 to 4 inches apart. The seedlings can be consumed as greens or discarded.
Allow the beets to develop for 40 to 50 days after germination, then dig them up with a spade. Do not pull on the beets from the top because that will only damage the greens (and possibly the root). The ideal size for a mature beet is about 2 inches in diameter, with greens that are four to six inches tall. Larger beets tend to be tough.
Store the harvested beets in a refrigerator, freezer or root cellar. If stored at temperatures that are near freezing, fresh beets can keep for three to four months.