Should I do this or just wait and direct sow when the ground is warm?
You don't say where you are and what your zone is !
Beets are cool crops. I would direct sow them or try germinating in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
You can, of course, try to germinate and grow them inside, if you can plant them in the garden within a short time.
Sorry! I am Z5, NW Illinois. Thanks for your response.
Direct sowing always works better for me. As a general rule root crops don't take well to transplanting often dieing or at best stunting if the tap root is at all damaged in the process.
I tried indoor germination with some beets several years back and successfully transplanted most of them. But I discovered that those I had direct seeded quickly caught up with the transplants and produced bigger better bulbs - assuming you are growing for the roots and not just the tops.
Thanks Dave, you saved me time!
I have had the same experience as Dave when transplanting beets. The ones I moved never formed good roots.
You might try sowing them using milk-jug mini-greenhouse which you place out side. They will act as a cold frame. I am trying that with onions, but no results until later this growing season.
I dont grow any root crops like beets and carrots but I do start cool crops in cold frame. This method I find to be helpful to get a head start where and when you have cool and extended spring weather. Although the so called "Cold Crops" can grow in cool weather but their seeds won't germinate readily in cold soil. So once you get them started indoors, in cold frame and transplanted into garden they will grow. This has one added advantage that you get early crops of things like lettuce, spinach, choys before they bolt. And I think it can be the same with beets, IF you do not keep the in starter tray for too long. JMO
My experience is just the opposite. I always start mine in the greenhouse in tall 6 packs. When I direct sow, it's sketchy if they come up or not, and I'm often left with bald spots in my row.
The trick, I've found, is to pack the soil down as the sprout grows up and add a little to the top. I do this about three times before transplanting out in the garden. That way when you pop out the plug, it's nice and firm and doesn't crumble, so the root doesn't get transplant-shock.
Each seed often sends up 2 or 3 sprouts for me. I don't thin them like they say to. I just let them battle it out and the strongest one always becomes the beet.
So far I've only been able to direct sow in the Summer some time. A few years back, I sowed in April, and they got a couple inches tall, but they stopped growing and were eaten by Slugs... It's simply not cold enough here to have them grown entirely in the ground from seed.