Growing Beets in Containers is easy. This quick growing vegetable doesn’t require much care and perfect for beginner container gardeners.
Beets are one of the fast growing vegetables and if you’ve grown other root vegetables like radishes or carrots, then growing beets in containers is not much different.
Choosing a pot
Use any type of container you find best with SUFFICIENT drainage holes. However, clay pots are an excellent choice. Growing beets is possible in small pots but ensure they are minimum 8 inches deep. 10 to 12 inches deep pots are IDEAL as they will encourage roots to develop! You can choose as much wide container as you want. The wider it would be the more plants you can grow together. Window boxes or large rectangular containers with the recommended depth are good choices.
When to begin planting
As a best practice, you can start planting beets in the spring, three-two weeks before the last (average) frost date in your area. You can continue to sow seeds every 3 to 4 weeks until when the temperature start to reach above 80 F (27 C). Again, you can begin planting in the late summer and early fall (autumn) when the temperature starts to come under the range of 85 F (29 C).
For warm tropical climate
As beets is a cool weather crop, those who live in warm subtropical or tropical areas (USDA Zones 9b-11) should grow it in late fall, winter and early spring.
Planting Beets in Pots
First thing first– Beets don’t like to be transplanted, so no role of seed trays! Pick desired pots and sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. Once they germinate and reach the significant height, you can select the healthiest seedlings and thin others apart to maintain the recommended 3 inches distance spacing. To speed up the germination, you can also soak the seeds overnight in nonchlorinated water before planting. However, if seeds are treated with fungicide, avoid this.
The seedlings will emerge anytime between 5 to 15 days, depending on the growing conditions. Until then keep the pots in a spot that is warm and receive mild sun and maintain the moisture in the soil. Once germinated, place the baby plants in the desired position and later when seedlings grow up to 3 inches tall, thin them. To maintain the spacing recommendation mentioned below.
If you know how to grow beets in containers, you can try any variety. A few of them we’ve listed here are the Detroit Dark Red, Early Wonder, Sangria, and Sweetheart.
Requirements for Growing Beets in Containers
Beets can be grown in full sun to part shade but for optimum growth choose a spot that receives full sun, at least 6 hours of sunlight is necessary. Also, make sure the spot you place your containers have good air circulation.
Soil that is loamy, penetrable and promotes the development of large roots is best for growing beet in a pot. Make sure your soil is rich in nutrients, you can also add a lot of compost. Also, avoid adding pebbles or stones in the soil or the bottom layer when growing this root vegetable.
If you’re not using commercial soil packet for growing beets, prepare your own potting mix by adding 1 part soil, 1 part compost or well-rotted manure, and 1 part perlite. If you want to make a soilless mix, add 1 part peat moss or coco peat, 1 part compost or well-rotted manure, and 1 part perlite, vermiculite or sand. You can also add time-based fertilizer that is low in nitrogen at the time of mixing the soil.
If you don’t want hard and sinewy beetroots, water regularly and evenly. To keep the soil slightly moist all the time. Ensure you not let the soil dry out completely between the growing process and also avoid OVERWATERING.
Maintain the 3 inches of distance between each plant from all direction for growing beets in pots successfully. You can grow each plant 2 inches apart, but this will hamper the growth of roots. For reference, the 12 inches wide rectangular pot can support around 4-5 plants.
Keep in mind, the optimum temperature for growing beets in containers require a temperature around 50 F – 85 F (10 C – 29 C), but it can be grown in temperature as low as 40 F (4.5 C) and as high as 90 F (32 C) with difficulty.
It’s a good idea to use time-based (slow release) fertilizer to add into the potting soil. As beets is a root vegetable and you may like to increase its root development, use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen but high in phosphorous and potassium. For example, a formula of NPK 5-10-10.
Once the beetroots growing in pots become one month and doing well, you can switch to a water-soluble fertilizer. With the same 5-10-10 formula. And if you see Nitrogen deficiency in soil, use the complete fertilizer with NPK in 20-20-20 ratio.
If you want to grow beets organically, side dress plants with compost or manure and feed the plants with compost tea every other week. As beets usually suffer from boron deficiency, you can add seaweed (an excellent source of boron) fertilizer in compost tea for optimum growth.
Pests and Diseases
When growing beets in pots, you don’t have to worry about pests and diseases much. You can avoid most of the problems by not overwatering and avoiding overhead watering. The common culprits are root rot and scab. Leaf miners and common pests like aphids can affect the foliage growth.
Beets on average require anywhere from 6-8 weeks to get ready for harvest after germination. You can also harvest beet green to use in salads; the tender leaves taste delicious. You can start harvesting greens when leaves are a few inches long by cutting the outer leaves only and leaving the small inner foliage to grow, which you can harvest later.