11 secrets for growing beets in your pot and garden
Beetroot, one of the most popular and delicious vegetables that we grow in the fall. Beetroot stands out for its impressive red color and characteristic sweet taste.
The beetroot plant grows to 40-50 cm and has long green leaves that usually have characteristic red ribs and stems. The beetroot crop produces in the first year, however, it is a biennial plant that if left in the ground blooms in the second year for those who want to keep seed from the variety of beetroot they grow.
What we eat as beetroot is the fleshy root of the plant that grows in the soil. Beetroot is eaten boiled in our favorite beetroot salad and in many other recipes. The tender leaves of beetroot are equally delicious and nutritious, ideal for a healthy salad.
Beetroot is highly nutritious and is a food of high nutritional value, as it is rich in vitamins and antioxidants with multiple health benefits. It is an excellent choice for juice so that we can enjoy all its nutrients, even those that are lost during cooking. And if we do not have a garden, we can easily plant beetroot in a pot on the balcony with excellent results. Let’s see in detail the most important tips for growing beets, to enjoy them fresh in a salad or other favorite foods.
1. What are the best-known varieties of beetroot to plant?
There are many varieties and hybrids of beetroot, local and foreign to grow in our garden. Some varieties of beetroot have a thick round root, others more flattened root, while there are varieties that are grown mainly for their leaves. The most famous varieties of beetroot are the following:
- Detroit beetroot variety: Beetroot variety that gives large round beets with glossy green foliage and crimson flesh color. It is the most commercial variety of beetroot and is relatively early.
- Egyptian beetroot variety: Productive variety of beetroot that gives a flattened root. Although it gives delicious fruits, it does not have a great commercial impact on consumers due to the shape of the root.
- Celery: Many do not know that celery, the favorite vegetable we grow for its leaves, is a variety of beetroot with large glossy green foliage and smaller root.
- Sugar beet: The well-known sugar beet that gives us sugar, is a special variety of beetroot with a well-developed root that has a high concentration of sugars.
2. What conditions are needed to grow beetroot?
Beetroot cultivation grows best in deep fertile soils with good drainage, as well as carrots, radishes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, vegetables that have underground roots. Only in such fluffy soils can the fleshy root of beetroot grow and be of good quality. To help the root growth, we prepare the soil, plow well or dig the soil and incorporate compost, digested manure, and complete organic fertilizer. Beetroot is planted in the fall or early spring.
All varieties of beetroot grow in a cool environment and away from extreme temperatures, with ideal temperatures from 15 ° C to 25 ° C. In conditions of extreme cold or very hot, beetroot roots do not grow and do not form properly and we have degraded production.
3. How do we plant beetroot and at what distances?
To grow beetroot, we can plant seeds or get ready-made plants from a nursery. When sowing, rub the beetroot seed with your hands to break the hard shell and make the seeds germinate better. Plant the beetroot seeds at a depth of 3-5 cm, throwing 4-5 seeds, at distances of 10 cm between them and at distances of 50 cm between the rows. If we want to have enough beetroot production for a longer period of time, we sow a smaller amount of seeds gradually every 2-3 weeks.
When the young beetroot plants grow a little, dilute them and leave 1 beetroot per ten centimeters. Uprooting can be a little difficult emotionally, but it is necessary for our plants to be able to grow and give us good quality beets. For ready-made plants that we have created in bed or that we have procured, we plant at planting distances of 15-20 cm between the plants and 40-50 cm between the rows. It is important to plant at relatively sparse distances to ensure the good growth of beetroot plants and good underground root formation.
4. How is beetroot grown in a pot?
For planting beets in pots or planters, we choose relatively shallow pots, 25 cm high so that the root of the plant can grow. Place the pot in a sunny position facing south during the fall, and with more shade on a west or east balcony when planting in early spring. Fill the pots with fluffy topsoil, especially for vegetables, to ensure good drainage. Alternatively, we can make our own mixture, using 60% soil or peat, 20% compost or digested manure, 10% perlite, and 10% sand.
5. What watering needs does beetroot cultivation have?
Beetroot cultivation does not have high water requirements, as long as it has constant watering when the soil dries. In addition, as an autumn crop, there are rains that make it easier for us to water. If we grow beets in the spring, we will definitely need more regular watering in order for the plant to grow properly.
6. How often do we add fertilizer to the beetroot crop?
Regarding the fertilization of beetroot, we add 2 tablespoons of complete organic fertilizer, rich in nutrients every 20-30 days for the good growth of the foliage and the production of the fleshy root. In addition, foliar fertilization with boron helps to have a good production of beets without spots and bumps.
7. What diseases and which insects affect the cultivation of beetroot?
Beetroot cultivation is affected by various fungal diseases such as downy mildew, kerosporidia, and sclerotinia. It is good to spray the foliage of the plants every 2 weeks with a biological preparation of copper to deal with it.
And as for the insects that cause problems in beetroot such as caterpillars, meligra, and liriomza, we use organic insecticides potassium salts, and natural pyrethrin that we find in agricultural stores. At a precautionary level, we can spray with an improvised plant protection recipe with natural ingredients by dissolving 1 tablespoon of green soap in a liter of water.
8. What other care is needed to grow beets?
The cultivation of beetroot requires frequent weeding from the weeds, ie removal of unwanted weeds, especially during the period when the young beetroot plants are growing. We also remove dry and withered leaves, usually the lower ones, to help the plant grow better. and to ensure better ventilation and prevention of disease development
9. When do we harvest beets?
We can harvest a few leaves per plant at any stage of development. The foliage is more tender when the roots are still small. Beets are ready for harvest usually 2-3 months after sowing and it is important to have a planting date to make it easier for us to get them out of the soil. Before uprooting, dig lightly around the plants and check that the beetroot root has reached a good size with a diameter of about 5 cm.
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10. How do we store and preserve beets?
Beetroot has a long shelf life as long as we cut the leaves a few inches above the shoots without washing them. We can also keep them in straw or sand at a refrigerator maintenance temperature for several weeks without any problem of altering the quality characteristics of the beetroot.
11. And one last secret for growing beets
If we have limited space in our garden, the co-cultivation of beetroot at closer distances with other vegetables offers excellent results by saving water and fertilizer. Specifically, beetroot can be grown together with cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, garlic, and lettuce and enjoy a very good production.