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I was thinking about growing sugar beets on my London roof terrace, so I was wondering what temperature it needs. I also have access to a greenhouse should it be necessary.

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    One good thing to note is that sugar beets do best in deep soils, often using soil over seven feet down. To grow these properly to maturity, you will need a fairly deep bed. – J. Musser Aug 1 '14 at 1:04
  • @J.Musser Thank you; Sorry to disturb your holiday. – tropical Aug 1 '14 at 4:36
  • Heh heh. Totally my own fault. Who but me checks this site from his mobile on vacation? Anyway, do you have a deep bed suitable for sugar beets? – J. Musser Aug 1 '14 at 6:01
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    For what purpose would you want to grow sugarbeet? they're rather inedible, and need industrial processing to make use of the sugar (unless you're a good amateur chemist). I don't know if they might be put to use for brewing? The only use we ever put them to on the farm was for as a treat for pet rabbits. – Siv Aug 1 '14 at 19:35
  • @Siv I've grown them just for cool, or for exhibition, or sometimes use them as livestock feed. Tropical doesn't necessarily want to eat them. – J. Musser Aug 1 '14 at 20:13
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In regard to the temperature requirements of sugar beets, they prefer an even 65°-80° Fahrenheit (warmer daytime temp) for the first 90 days of growth, at which point the roots begin to swell, and the plant will prefer to stay within 5° on either side of 75° Fahrenheit daytime temps, and the same for a 45° nighttime temp.

As for other optimal conditions:

  • Soil pH - Test your soil. The pH should read between 6.5 & 6.8. Sugar beets will produce poorly under that level, so if your soil reads lower than 6.5, apply lime.

  • Water - Sugar beets need at least 16" of rain to mature, but more is better. I have used about 35" over the entire season (counting rain) with success.

  • Fertilizer - These are heavy feeders. Give them plenty of nitrogen, in a balanced fertilizer, all season for the largest roots and highest sucrose levels.

  • Soil Type - They are adaptive, but do best in a sandy loam with a high organic matter content. It must be water retentive but free draining. I have grown them successfully in a range of soils, but still recommend sandy loam, even over bagged mix (no soil).

Other points of interest:

  • Sugar beets can take 100-180 days from seed to maturity, depending on conditions and variety. Some may take only 90.

  • In limited root space, go with a smaller beet. They take less space and mature faster, too!

  • Watch for weeds, which are the first reason for failure at first attempts on growing this plant.

  • I've noted that there is almost zero pest/disease problems when grown under close to ideal conditions, but watch for slugs, flea beetles, earwigs, and the like.

References/Further reading:

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