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Beets are known for their ability to grow rapidly. The beet plants are cool-season crops that you can easily and quickly harvest. They belong to the Chenopodiaceae family, similar to Swiss chard, and their root crops and leaves are all edible.
One amazing fact about beets is that they have several varieties. Even better news is that they are incredible companion plants, making them perfect for a vegetable garden that holds so many crop varieties. Get to know more about the beets and the best companion plants for them through this article.
Quick Facts About Beets
- Botanical name: Beta Vulgaris
- Type of plant: Annual, vegetable
- Sun exposure: Partial and full sun
- Size: 12 to 18 inches tall, 18 to 24 inches wide
- Type of soil and pH level: Moist, well-drained, and loamy; Neutral and acidic, preferably 6.0 to 7.0 pH level
- Hardiness zones: 2 to 11 USDA zones
- Bloom time: Seasonal
Companion Planting Defined
If you are interested in planting and growing beets, take note that the companion planting method works best for such a crop. Companion planting is a proven gardening technique capable of protecting and enriching crops otherwise considered sensitive and vulnerable.
The whole process involves planting companion plants and crops close to each other in the garden. The reason for this approach is to prevent certain insects, pests, and other potential invaders, like beetles and bugs from coming into the garden and damaging the beet plants.
The best companion plants grown together can also stimulate plant growth and attract insects that can benefit all plants.
Remarkable Benefits of Companion Planting
Undeniably, companion planting has become the g0-to gardening technique of several farmers and gardeners because it has several remarkable and incredible benefits. Among these benefits are:
Prevents pests from coming near the plants
Certain plants cultivated and grown together, which is the principle of companion planting, can repel any unwanted and damaging insects and pests, like flea beetles and bugs. There are also pungent plants that deter mammals that may eat and damage the beets.
Assures you of a good harvest
Your decision to grow a companion plant along with beets can guarantee a bountiful harvest. Even when the beet plants fail to grow as you wanted them, too, there will still be other plants that will most likely survive.
Aside from that, there are certain plants that support the healthy growth of beets and improve their flavor.
Invites beneficial insects
Companion planting is also good for your beets in the sense that it works in inviting beneficial insects. Some pollinators, like ladybugs and bees, will be encouraged to get into your vegetable garden to pollinate your crops.
Gardening experts even make it a point to grow attractive plants, such as borage flowers, as a means of encouraging the visit of pollinators.
Provides ground cover and shade
You can also use some plants capable of spreading low across the ground, such as oregano, as ground cover. This means they work as a sort of blanket, covering the soil, thereby keeping it protected from the sun. This is beneficial for those plants that require cool weather.
Some plants are also capable of growing leafy and tall. A few examples of them are asparagus and zucchini. This is good as it can offer a sort of shade for plants under them that are extremely sensitive to the sun.
In addition to the already mentioned benefits, expect companion planting to help your beets with the following positive effects:
- Better flavor and more rapid growth
- Better nutrients for the soil
- Works in preventing weeds
- Provides natural support to crops with low and sprawling growth
Beets Companion Planting Guide
You can grow beets successfully together with several different plants, herbs, and vegetables. Among the plants that can greatly benefit beets when planted and cultivated together are the following:
Plants belonging to the cabbage family, including the cabbage itself, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli, are among the best companion of beets. Such cabbage plants can benefit beets in the sense that they can increase the vital mineral content of the soil, which is crucial for healthy and strong growth.
Beet leaves that are filled with magnesium can then greatly benefit the compost pile along with the ones in the cabbage family.
Bush beans, butter beans, and soybeans are also favorable companion plants for beets. The good thing about the mentioned bean varieties, especially the bush beans, is that they are capable of enriching the soil’s nutrition content with high amounts of nitrogen.
This can, therefore, leave the soil high in such a vital nutrient that will be useful in cultivating future crops. Avoid pole beans, though. The reason is that pole beans are not as good as bush beans when it comes to companion planting.
Garlic is also an incredible choice when planning to do beet companion planting. The primary reason behind it is that garlic can improve the taste and flavor of your beets. This results in a more satisfying harvest since you know that it will provide you with the best flavors.
Garlic also provides the advantage of releasing sulfur while growing. As a natural anti-fungal, expect sulfur to be a big help in reducing a wide range of diseases that may affect the growth of beets.
As part of the Allium family, bulb onions, just like garlic, can also benefit beets if you grow them together as companion plants. It provides the same benefits as the other members of this family, including scallions, garlic, shallots, chives, and leeks.
The plants that belong to this family or group are called stinking lilies that have pungent odors with the ability to deter pests and other invaders that may pose a threat to your beets. With that said, it is safe to say that onions can help repel several different bugs capable of destroying the beet crop. An example of this would be the sugar beet flea beetle.
Onions also help repel and stop mammals, like rabbits, gophers, groundhogs, and deer. By warding off the unwanted and harmful invaders, you will gain a hundred percent assurance that your beets will grow just like how you intend them to be.
As one choice when looking for a fantastic companion plant, you may not be able to improve beets directly, but you can still grow them together to benefit your entire garden of vegetables and crops. The shallow root system of lettuce makes it capable of growing incredibly well beside beets.
Lettuce works effectively in utilizing available nutrients close to the soil’s surface. The taproot of beets, on the other hand, works in drawing nutrients from beneath. This results in them fighting the failure of crops and vegetables.
Another advantage of lettuce is that it can retain moisture that may diminish because of evaporation. You only have to plant the famous lettuce between the beets to ensure that the dead spaces will be filled and the bare soil will be covered.
Moreover, lettuce can block the sun during hot weather, thereby preventing the soil from overheating while shading your beets.
Radishes sprout fast, which makes them great companion plants for beets. It can loosen the soil, thereby toughening dense soil. The quick-growing capability of radishes assures you of the chance to harvest this plant first.
It is a good thing as it means it can also provide a second crop. Aside from that, the beets will have additional space for growth once you harvest the radishes. Moreover, the radishes are also helpful in keeping the soil loose, which is beneficial as the beetroots are still developing.
The fact that catnip is effective in repelling insect, pests, and other harmful invaders, especially non-beneficial ones, like aphids, squash bugs, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, and potato beetles means that it can prevent them from coming near beet plants.
You can plant beets strategically together with catnip for effective pest and insect control. This is particularly helpful when handling beetles.
You can also grow some aromatic herbs near beets. Some herbs, like hyssop, mint, rosemary, and thyme, have an intense aroma as well as scented oils capable of repelling pests that may eat your beet plants. With that, they will definitely work as companion plants.
Cucumbers are also perfect companions when growing beets. Expect the root vegetables to grow and survive well when grown and cultivated in similar garden beds.
One distinctive capability of cucumbers is that they are capable of rooting down deeper compared to beets. With that, they can pull nutrients deep down in the soil. They also offer the advantage of moving up to a spot where you can fully maximize your garden space.
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Your beets can also benefit when planted in a garden that has cauliflower and broccoli in it. You can grow such types of plant near beets without worrying about either of them getting damaged.
Beets also have low foliage that will ensure that fully grown broccoli will not have blocked airflow. This provides the advantage of preventing issues associated with rot and mildew.
Kohlrabi and beets are also incredible companions when grown in the garden. The main reason is that beets are capable of drawing nourishment beneath the soil.
Kohlrabi, on the other hand, takes nutrients from the soil’s topmost layer, which means the two plants will not compete for nourishment.
Your decision to grow beets together with oats also provides the advantage of lessening the damage that the sugar beetroot maggot may cause. You may want to sow your beet plants into a living mulch to enjoy such a benefit. It can also benefit your beets if you under-sow them together with green oat manure.
It is also beneficial to grow corn together with beets. The reason is that corn can help you maximize your space. The good thing about the roots of corn is that they can go deeply inside the ground while having a low risk of interfering and interrupting with beet growth.
Companion Planting Guide for Beets
If you want to give companion planting for beets a try, then you should arm yourself with every little knowledge that can help you with the process. Note that you may find the method quite tricky especially because you would never want to plant them close to anything that may hinder its growth.
One tip would be to cultivate those that will surely be gone at the specific moment when your beet plants are in need of the soil. Pick those with small root systems, too. By doing either of those, you can make the most out of the space in your garden.
It is also advisable to pick plants that can repel pests, like lettuce, onions, peas, and some aromatic herbs with intense scented oils. This move can keep the tender leaves of young beets fully protected.
One more thing to remember is to avoid shading beets with plants that are taller than them. Note that beets are perfect additions to the Southern part of any garden bed. This is the place where low-profile beet leaves can receive their required sunshine.
Planting Beet Seeds
Now that you know what plants to grow along with beets, it is time to understand how to plant them. Basically, you need to sow the seeds of beets in a sunny and bright spot. Ensure that the soil remains moist during the whole germination process.
Plant beets successively every 3 weeks of so to extend its harvest season. Also, note that the seeds of beets are kind of slow when it comes to germination. To speed it up a bit, soak the seeds in water first, should be overnight.
This should help in softening the tough exterior shell of beets before planting then growing them. Also, note that beets are incapable of transplanting that well. This is the reason why you have to sow the seeds directly in your garden.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should not be planted with beets?
Avoid planting pole beans together with beets. The reason is that these pole beans can stunt the growth of such plants. In addition, you should never plant beets with field mustard. Your beet can’t benefit from being planted near field mustard, so it would be best to avoid it.
Avoid potatoes and sweet potatoes, too. The reason is that harvesting either the beets or the potatoes may damage the other.
The two also need the same nutrients that they can derive from the soil, causing them to compete with each other, so they are not good companion plants.
What can I plant with beets?
There are several plants that you can grow with beets. Among the most beneficial ones are onions, lettuce, radishes, corn, Brussels sprouts, and oats. Beets can also benefit when planted along with aromatic herbs, like thyme, catnip, rosemary, hyssop, and mint.
Can I plant beets with tomatoes?
Beets, similar to peas, dill, rosemary, and cabbage, are not great companions for tomatoes. This means you should avoid growing them close together. If you really have to grow them in the same vegetable garden, they should be properly spaced, preferably a minimum of 16 inches between the tomatoes and beets.
Can beets and carrots be planted together?
You can grow beets and carrots in squares that are next to one another. However, you have to avoid growing these companion plants in a similar square. The reason is that beets need more space to guarantee that they will grow their full size.
Your beet plants can greatly benefit from companion planting. The good thing about making this timeless gardening method a part of your crop rotations is that it can also maintain balance in your garden.
It can protect your vegetables while ensuring that your beets will thrive and grow based on their nature together with the ideal companion plants for them.