I haven't had much success growing beets. What can I do to ensure a good crop?

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I haven't had much success growing beets. What can I do to ensure a good crop?

Answer: 

Beets perform best in loose, well-drained soils in full sun.  The planting site should receive at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.

The most common problem growing beets is not thinning the planting.  Proper spacing is essential for a quality crop.  Thinning is especially important for beets since every beet “seed” is actually a fruit which contains several seeds.  Thin the beet planting when the seedlings are 3 inches tall.  Remove the smaller, weaker seedlings and leave the stronger, more vigorous plants.  After thinning, plants should be spaced 3 to 4 inches apart. 

Poor germination may be another problem.  Poor germination may result from the crusting of the soil surface or dry soil conditions.  Crusting can be prevented by lightly mulching the seeded row with sawdust, peat moss, or dry grass clippings.  Water the row during dry weather to promote germination. 

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