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Introduction on growing beets in containers
Some people really wonder if they can grow beets at home. I will tell you something more. You can easily start growing beets in containers without a fuss.
Beets are a cool crop. And they are really fast growing.
They are grown for the beautiful colored bulb or for the leaves.
Beets really are one of the easiest crops to grow. Due to there fast growing speed, they almost never come into contact with pests or diseases.
what is a beet?
A beet, Latin name Beta Vulgaris, is a plant grown for the root. Although all parts of the plant can be eaten.
It’s a biennial plant belonging to the genus Beta, part of the amaranth family.
The plant I’m now talking about is the Beta vulgaris, having a fleshy red or white root.
The beet is among us since ages. The plant was already grown during the period of the great pyramids in Egypt.
Beet seeds are in fact clusters of small seeds in a bigger pot. So, it’s possible that you have to thin out the beets, even if you only sowed one seed in one spot.
Where to grow beets?
Whether in the garden or in a container, the plant needs a well-draining soil.
The PH-value of the soil should be between 6 and 7.
The soil should be damp at all times. Don’t make it overly wet as this can cause root rot. But it is necessary to give water on a daily basis.
Beets love a fertile compost to grow in because they like the nutrition. One of the trace minerals they need in bigger quantity is Boron. But a good compost should have sufficient nutrition in it to sustain the short growing period.
The pot size should be at least 6 inches or 15 centimeters deep to make sure the roots have enough depth to develop. The diameter of the pot depends on the number of beets you want to grow in the pot.
When to grow beets?
As you grow in pots, you can move the plants around. This is a big advantage to growing in the soil as beets don’t really like to be transplanted.
You can easily start the seeds indoors and put the container outside if there’s only chance of low frost. Beets can withstand cold temperatures. But hard freezes can kill off the plant.
The potential of growing in containers makes for a good growth early in spring and till late in fall. You can always put the pots inside once they are almost fully grown.
Growing outside in spring is possible as well. We can start growing end of March, beginning of April in our zone 8B.
In the fall it’s also possible to grow beets in full soil. But you have to count the days until the first frost because really low temperatures can destroy the harvest. From seed to harvest, it takes about 55 days.
Taking care of beets
The normal steps of growing vegetables also count for beets.
- Keep the soil moist but not wet.
- Make sure the soil is about 50°F or 10°C to sprout the seeds. Lower temperatures may work but it’ll take longer to sprout the seeds. Normally it takes about 7 days before the seedlings pop up.
- Make sure there’s no hard frost that can kill the plants.
- Don’t keep the plants indoors when it’s too hot and there’s not enough sun. The plants will not bulb up when it gets too hot.
- Don’t overdo the fertilizing with nitrogen.
- Make sure that, if you use standard potting soil, you use enough compost or aged manure, mixed with the potting soil.
- Thin out once the seedlings are about 4 inches or 10 centimeters big. Try to keep a distance of about 3 inches or 8 centimeters between the plants. Only cut off the plants you don’t need. Don’t pull the plants out of the soil. This can disturb the roots of the neighbor plants.
- Keep the plants in full sun whenever you can. Although it’s a root crop, the size can depend on light.
- In the soil or in a container, you can grow about 9 beets per square foot.
transplanting or planting of beets
Beets don’t like to be transplanted so there’s nothing to mention under this title.
You can harvest beets at their full size or you can harvest beets as baby beets. So, it’s up to you when you harvest your beets. And you can see the size of the beets when you check the soil.
It’s even possible to harvest a couple of leaves while the plant is growing to its full size.
diseases and pests when growing beets in containers
Alticini or flea beetles will devastate the leaves of your plants. They will eat small holes all over the leaves. You can easily treat the beetles with neem oil.
If you clean up in the autumn after the harvest, you can already prevent a lot of problems because the beetle pupae overwinter in the debris on the ground.
There’s a possibility if you have a first attack that you’ll get a second attack after a couple of months. So check the plants in a timely fashion.
Pegomya hyoscyami or spinach leaf miner
Leaf miners are never welcome. Just like other leaf miners, the spinach leaf miner or beet leafminer lays its eggs on the underneath side of the leaves. The maggots munch there way into the leaf, making unsightly tunnels. Once the maggots are inside the leaf, it’s difficult to treat them. I personally just cut off the leaf and hot compost it so the maggots die and I stop the new generation of flies from emerging.
Aphids while growing beets in containers
Aphids never give up. When talking about a pest, it’s always good to mention aphids. They keep on coming back and get more resistant to treatment time after time. They have a whole range of plants they can attack. While sucking out the life of your plants, aphids can spread diseases with their saliva.
You can treat the infestation with a hard spray of water or with a homemade insecticidal soap mixture. In any case, you’ll have to treat several times. Keep an interval of 3 to 5 days for 3 to 4 times to kill off the critters and the eggs.
Cercospora leaf spot
The disease can be recognized by it’s brown to grey, or black spots with a red to purple halo. In humid environments, there can be a fuzzy layer on the leaves.
The disease infects a lot of different plants and it’s a fungus that resides in the plant debris in the soil.
It will spread in wet, hot weather.
There’s not really an organic way to stop the disease but milk can stagnate the disease and stop it from spreading to other plants.
I haven’t mentioned all the diseases that exist while growing beets in containers. But the diseases are not really a big threat as beets grow so fast.
If I do come in contact with a certain disease I didn’t mention, I’ll amend the article.
So this is it for this article on growing beets in containers. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.