How to Start Beet Seeds in Containers for Better Results

| Plant, Video

Not only is it possible to start beet seeds in containers — it can also lead to better results. In this video, I show you how I do it and explain why it’s the easier way.



Beets are one of those crops that you always hear must be direct-sown into the garden. That’s because beets are a root vegetable, and you never want to disturb the roots of a root crop. But a few years ago, I experimented with sowing beet seeds in containers and then transplanting them into the garden a few weeks later. Well, it was such a success that now it’s the only way I grow beets.

Beet seeds may be started indoors under grow lights for a jump on the growing season, or you can set out containers outdoors. The ideal germination temperature for beets is between 60 and 85 degrees, so keep that in mind if planning to start beet seeds outside. To learn the soil temperature range for optimal germination for common vegetable seeds, you can download my Optimal Soil Temperature Range chart, a free resource.

In each container, plant two to three beet seeds a half-inch deep in high-quality seed starting mix. After seedlings emerge in 5 to 8 days, thin them to one per container. 

In a few more weeks, you’ll have one strong plant per container, and each can be planted out in the garden without disturbing the roots. This method also allows for even spacing and maximum efficiency — beets won’t be overcrowded and no space will be wasted either. 


To start beet seeds in containers, thin beet seedlings in seed trays to one per cell.

Beet seedlings in containers should be thinned to one per cell so you’ll have one strong plant per container, and each can be planted out in the garden without disturbing the roots.


When transplanting, beets should be spaced 6 inches apart to give the plant the maximum chance to grow out and form the biggest beetroot possible. To quickly measure the distance I use a planting board, but if you don’t have one, a ruler does the job.

What’s your favorite way to start beet seeds? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 37: Starting Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 1

Episode 38: How to Start Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 2

Episode 39: How to Start Seeds Indoors: Digging Deeper, Pt. 3

Episode 94: How to Start and Care for Seedlings Indoors: My Steps for Success

joegardener blog: The Best Soil Temperature for Seed Germination

joegardener Seed Inventory Chart & Seed Longevity Chart

joegardenerTV YouTube: Easy Edibles for Every Fall Vegetable Garden

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Make a Planting Board: The Perfect Guide for Evenly Spacing Seeds and Plants

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Three popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; and seed starting!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. 

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*Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us. None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, and Wild Alaskan Seafood Box. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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