General requirements: Beet "seeds" are really a cluster holding up to 8 seeds inside, so after germination, seedlings will need to be thinned eventually to 3”-4” apart. Beets are a cool-weather crop and do especially well in spring and fall. Beets require full sun (minimum of six hours) and soil that is rich in organic matter and drains well. Add in some bone meal, too, as beets like phosphate. It ensures rapid root growth and good uptake of other nutrients. It's important to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Remove any rocks or obstacles that would interfere with good root development. A soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is best. Ideal temperatures are 50-65ºF, but they will tolerate some hot weather and some freezing as well. Soaking seed overnight aids in germination.
In the garden: Plant in early spring, as soon as soil can be worked, with soil temperatures at least 50ºF. You can plant successive plantings every 2 weeks until midsummer. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in rows 12-18 inches apart. Tamp the soil with the palm of your hand to ensure good soil contact. When plants are 2-4” tall, thin to 3-4” apart using clean scissors to cut away the excess. Don’t throw away the them! When the plants reach 5 inches or so, apply 2 to 3 inches of light, organic mulch to suppress weeds and improve moisture retention. The mulch will also keep the sun off the tops of the beetroots, so they don’t turn green and tough.
In containers: Use a container that is at least 10 “ deep, and has good drainage. Fill it with well-draining, light soil, or potting soil, and amend it with compost or an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Add in some bone meal, too, as beets like phosphate. Set the container in an area getting at least 6 hours of sun daily. Sow the seeds 1/2" deep and tamp down the soil. When plants are 2-4” tall, thin to 3-4” apart.
Transplanting: Start indoors using 4” peat pots filled with seed starting mix. Sow 2 seeds per pot,1/2" deep. Keep soil moist, but not soggy. Place in an area that averages 65°F and gets 6 or more hours of light. You may need to use grow lights. After seedlings emerge, thin them to one per container using clean scissors to cut away the excess seedlings. When they have grown 2 or 3 “ tall and when it’s still cool outside but after the danger of any frost has passed you can transplant them. Cut out the bottom of the peat pot. Plant the pot in the garden so that the soil levels remain the same. Space them 4-6" apart.