Both leaf beets and root beets were developed from wild seabeets, along coastal Europe and western Asia. Beet greens- the beet tops- have been eaten and enjoyed for several thousands of years. The Romans particularly liked beet greens and discovered that the roots were tasty as well! The beet gained in popularity in Europe and America during the 1700s.
Beets are a cool season crop, and are well suited for the Fall and Winter Garden, as well as an early Spring crop. They prefer cooler, loose, sandy loam soils, and will continue growing through early frosts. Beets are sweetest and tastiest when young, as they toughen with size and age. Pick them smaller rather than larger for best flavor.