Why Are My Garden Beets So Small?

Why are my garden beets so small

Small garden beets may result from overcrowding or insufficient sunlight. Thinning is crucial, as each beet seed cluster contains multiple seeds, and beets need ample space and at least six hours of sunlight daily to grow larger and sweeter.

Beets, the new superfood. Either you love them or despise them. 

A friend of mine likens the taste of beets to dirt. I disagree. 

I love pickled beets. If you plant them, you may be asking yourself “Why are my garden beets so small”?

I like my beets a little on the smaller size but that’s just me. The misconception that the bigger the beet the woodier it will be is just not true.

You can get big beets that are sweet and tender. Beets become woody when they are in the ground too long.

Beets prefer cooler weather and are best when harvested before that hot weather arrives. Watch the video below.

Why Are My Garden Beets So Small?

There are two questions you need to ask yourself. Are they overcrowded and need to be thinned?

And are they getting enough sunlight? Your beets should get at least six or more hours of sunlight.

However, the more sunlight the better. If you take care of these two factors then you will have bigger and sweeter beets. 


Did you know that beet seed is a cluster of 2-4 seeds in each one? This makes sowing the seed too thick so thinning is necessary.

The recommendations are to thin twice. When the beets are about 2 inches tall, take some small scissors and cut 1 1/2 inches apart. 

Cut all but the sturdiest seedlings in each cluster. Don’t pull as you will disturb the roots of the other plants. 

Then when 3-4 inches tall dig up every other one ending with spacing them 3-4 inches apart. To alleviate this problem they have beet seed tape on the market.

But they can be expensive depending on the brand you buy. Compare a beet seed tape with 45 seeds for about $8.00 to a package of 500 seeds for $6.00. 

But did you know that you can make your own beet seed tape? Way cheaper. 

DIY Beet Seed Tape

All you need is some toilet paper, beet seed, and some “glue” made of flour and water. That’s it!

By making your own beet seed tape you will save money and who doesn’t like to save money? Here’s how to do it.

Toilet paper. It doesn’t have to be expensive toilet paper.

The cheaper the better. Decide how long you want it to be.

I cut mine to the length of my kitchen table which is 5 feet. After you have the length that you want, cut it in half. 

Then fold each half in half. Make a “glue” of flour and water in equal parts. 

I used 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well. 

Measure and mark the toilet paper. I did mine every 3 inches.

With a small paintbrush or Q-tip dab a small amount of “glue” to each mark and then add the seed. Let dry and then roll it up and store it until you are ready to use it.

Easy peasy right? Then when you plant just unroll the toilet paper into your 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep trench. 

Cover with soil and water. To keep the ground damp my husband likes to place a board over the planted seeds until they have sprouted.

Some thinning may be necessary. Remember each beet seed is a cluster of 2-4 seeds. 

But the thinning will be much easier. 


Your beets need at least six or more hours of sunlight. The more the better. 

Full and direct sunlight is the best. They will tolerate partial sun and some shade but be aware that your beets are less likely to reach their optimal size. 

Beets grown in the shade are better if you are just wanting the greens. Sunny plants form larger sweeter roots. 

Why Are Beets Good For You?

Beets as I mentioned earlier are considered the new superfood. Why?

They have been known to have the ability to lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, support brain health, aid in digestion, and improve athletic performance by enhancing blood flow which improves the delivery of fuel to muscles. Beets may also help you lose weight.

They are loaded with protein and fiber and are low in calories. You can buy beetroot in powder or tablet form.

But for me, I would rather enjoy a bowl of pickled beets. There are many benefits of eating beets.

Do You Like Beets?

I love beets, especially pickled beets. It must be an acquired taste because I know many that do not.

Different strokes for different folks I guess. 

I have even been known to eat them with Mexican food, such as chicken enchiladas!

My Final Thoughts

  • Small beets in the garden might be due to inadequate space or nutrient competition, affecting their growth.
  • Ensuring proper spacing allows for better root development and access to nutrients.
  • Nutrient-rich soil is crucial; a lack of essential nutrients like phosphorus can stunt growth.
  • Regular soil testing and amendments can enhance vegetable size and quality.
  • Understanding the specific needs of beets, such as sunlight and water, is key to successful growth.

Why are my garden beets so small? You need to consider these two questions.

Are they overcrowded and need thinning? And are they getting enough sunlight? 

If you are only wanting those nutritious greens then shade will be fine. Once you have remedied these then you will have bigger and sweeter beets.

And remember beets are good for you. By making your own beet seed tape you will save money and have less thinning to do.

Did I tell you I like easy? The less work I have to do the better!

Beets are good for you and are touted to be a superfood. I hope this article helps you.

Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on this wonderful vegetable. I would love to hear from you.

And as always, have a wonderful day!

FAQ for Why Are My Garden Beets So Small?

1. What are the common reasons for small garden beets?

  • Overcrowding: If beets are planted too closely together, they might not have enough space to grow to their full size. Ensuring proper spacing according to gardening guidelines can help.
  • Insufficient Sunlight: Beets require a good amount of sunlight to thrive — typically at least six hours a day. Limited exposure to sunlight can result in smaller beets.

2. How can I improve the size of my garden beets?

  • Proper Thinning: Thinning the beet seedlings can prevent overcrowding. Each cluster of beet seeds can produce multiple plants, so it’s crucial to thin them out to allow for adequate growth space.
  • Optimal Soil Conditions: Ensuring that the soil is rich in nutrients and well-drained can also help in growing larger beets. Regular feeding and watering according to beet-specific needs can make a significant difference.

3. Are there specific beet varieties that grow larger?

  • Variety Selection: Some varieties of beets are naturally larger than others. Choosing a variety known for its larger size can be beneficial if the goal is to grow bigger beets.
  • Seed Quality: Using high-quality seeds from reputable suppliers can increase the chances of growing larger beets, as these seeds are more likely to have better genetic potential for growth.

4. What are the best practices for beet cultivation to maximize their size?

  • Regular Care: Regular weeding and ensuring the beets are not competing with weeds for nutrients is crucial.
  • Watering Practices: Beets need consistent moisture to grow well, so it’s important to water them regularly, especially during dry spells.

Leave a Comment