QUESTION: Fall gardening season usually ends early where I live because of the cold climate. Can you grow beets year round? – Jenny R
ANSWER: Beets are a cool season vegetable that grows best during the spring and fall seasons. However, if you want to try to grow your beets year round, investing in row covers and cold frames can help you extend beet’s typical harvest season far into the fall and even winter months.
When using a cold frame, beets can be sown four weeks earlier than normal. If the temperature drops below 32 degrees, be sure to keep the cold frame closed for extra frost protection. Otherwise, keep the lid slightly cracked to allow better air circulation. Beets can survive without the cold frame after about two weeks before your spring frost date.
Beets are hardy to about 29 degrees. Cold frames provide seven to ten degrees F of protection, and row covers provide two to four more degrees F. When combined, the two plant protectors can offer your beet plants a nine to 14 degree F shield against winter weather, which will allow you to harvest year round, or very close to year round, depending on the climate in the area where you live.
By these numbers, beets with cold frames and row covers would be safe in temperatures as low as 15-18 degrees F. Your beets could be even further insulated if you provide them with a thick layer of mulch. You could even put up a wind blocker to further shelter your beet crops from winter winds by stacking bales of straw or hay around the outside of your veggie garden.