How to Grow Sugar Beets

Sugar beet is a popular plant used in the commercial production of sugar, as the root contains a high concentration of sucrose. Growing sugar beets is not that difficult, especially since they can grow in a variety of climates and soils. Sugar beets are considered one of the healthiest natural foods, offering you protein, essential minerals and vitamins. Sugar beets also contain fiber, and are therefore very useful in treating constipation. They even contain antioxidants, which help your body ward off disease. Eating sugar beets regularly will greatly improve your energy level [source: Cattanach, Dexter, Oplinger]. So let's trek down to the garden and start planting sugar beets.

  1. Till the soil about two inches (5 centimeters) down and remove any rocks. Tilling is very important for the growth of sugar beets, and should be done in early spring, when the threat of frost is over. Don't till the soil more than a month before planting, or the soil will get too dry.
  2. Plant sugar beet seeds about 1½ inches (3.8 centimeters) deep in the soil. Don't plant them too close to each other, as the roots can get intertwined. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil. When weeding around the beets, be careful, as the roots of the sugar beets are shallow and you can easily damage them.
  3. Water your sugar beet plants often, as they are heavy drinkers. However, you must also be careful not to over water them, or they will rot.
  4. Watch for sprouts to emerge from the soil. Germination will occur approximately 15 days after planting. Your sugar beets will be ready for harvest in the fall [source: Michigan Sugar].
  5. Dig up your sugar beets when they measure about two inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. If the beets are allowed to grow larger, they'll become fibrous and lose their flavor. An early harvest is vital if beets are to retain their sweet flavor [source: University of Illinois].