Growing Beets In Containers – The Simple And Easy Way
Even if you have limited gardening knowledge and small garden space, beets are easy to grow that you’ll have an abundant supply of this nutritious and fast-growing root crop within 7 to 8 weeks. Here’s how you can easily grow beets in containers:
- What You’ll Need
- 6 Steps to Growing Beets in Containers
- Final Thoughts
What You’ll Need
- 10-12 inches deep container
- Beet seeds
- Potting mix
6 Steps to Growing Beets in Containers
Growing beets in containers are easy! The following steps shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to complete:
1. Get The Container Ready
When growing beets in containers, you can use repurposed pots, cans, and buckets. However, it’s important to use a pot that has sufficient drainage holes in the bottom and be at least 10 inches deep. Beets, also known as Beta Vulgaris, are root vegetables, which means they grow underground. They need enough room for the roots and bulb to flourish.
Clay pots won’t only provide healthy housing for your veggies, but these pots will also biodegrade quickly – making them the eco-friendly option.
You can get plastic containers for growing beets. But we recommend using a clay pot container for beets.
2. Pour The Potting Mix In The Container
To successfully grow beets in a container, you should also watch out for the soil condition. Although moderately alkaline soils can often be endured by beets, the soil you purchase should ideally have a pH that ranges between 6.0 and 7.0 and be high in phosphorus.
Ask around in local community gardens, garden shops, or farmers’ markets to get your hands on some good quality potting soil for beets.
You can also add fertilizer to your potting soil. When buying fertilizer for growing beets in a pot, you should look for equal nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) levels. For organic fertilizer, you can use compost. Adding compost keep the soil loaded with nutrients for plants and vegetables to grow (1).
[Composting] encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
If you bought pre-mix potting soil, you don’t have to add fertilizer or compost to the container. It already has nutrients and minerals that can help assist in root development. Using garden soil is generally okay, however, make sure that it is free from soil obstructions like clumps and rocks.
3. Prepare The Soil
With the potting soil mix in the container, lightly press down the soil. This step ensures that you can secure the beets seeds in place while reducing air pockets. When compressing the soil, do not press firmly. Compacted soil is dangerous to plants and vegetables (2).
Do not press the soil too hard. Having air pockets is not generally bad but it can disrupt water from flowing throughout the soil.
4. Add The Seed Holes
Using your index finger, make holes that are 4- 6 inches apart from each other, and 1/4 inch deep. If you have a smaller container, you can space the speed holes about 3 inches apart.
Seed space spacing is necessary to grow beets in containers. Each seed is actually a cluster of 3-4 beet seeds. If you put the seeds near to each other, they will compete for water, nutrients, and sunlight (3).
Leaving the right amount of space between vegetable plants is quite important as each plant needs a certain amount of room for their roots and leaves to maximize growth.
5. Plant The Seeds
Put 2 to 3 seeds in each hole. Then, cover them with soil. The seed coat is hard and may take several days to soften up and start germination. To speed up the process, you can soak beet seeds in water for at least 24 hours before putting them in pots.
6. Water The Beets
When growing beets seeds in containers, you should water them daily until they sprout. You can use a simple watering can to settle the soil and seeds in the container. Once they show any signs of growth, you should water the beets only if the soil is dry. Beets are water-thirsty but overwatering them can result to root damage and even bolting. For better care, keep the soil moist all the time.
You can also opt for a self-watering planter like in this video:
Generally speaking, your beets should receive around 1 in3 or 16 mL of water per week. You can use a rain gauge to monitor rainfall. If interested in rain harvesting, read our list of the best rain barrels for smaller homes.
A lush vegetable deserves to be grown as such – in the terrace, roof, backyard, or garden of those who will eat it. In this case – you! We hope this article helped you in your growing beets in a container venture.
If it did, remember to leave your thoughts, opinions, or doubts in the comment section below and to spread the vibrant beet seeds by sharing this article with all of those who eat… how clever!
Beets are ready to harvest within 7 to 8 weeks. Some beet varieties like the Detroit Dark Red are ready to harvest within 58 days.
Ideally, you’d want to harvest them if their roots are about 2”-3” in diameter. However, some gardeners prefer small beets because they taste better compared to the woodier flavor of fully-grown beets. You can also harvest beets if they are already dark red in color or if their crown is protruding from the soil. If you leave them in the container for too long, you will have woodier beets that may be too unpalatable.
The right way to harvest beets is simply by pulling them up from the soil. However, you should never yank them from their leaves or stems. You should grasp the beets near the soil line. In some cases, you may need to use a garden fork when harvesting beets. You can either loosen the surrounding soil or dig the beets out of the container.
However, they can also grow partially shaded, especially in warmer climates. Ideally, you’d want to grow beets in containers during spring or later summer when the temperature is warmer – about 60 to 70 degrees. If you’re going to keep beets in the ground through winter, make sure to add an extra layer of mulch to prevent frosting. However, if the temperature drops to 25 degrees or lower, it is better to harvest beets. Bear in mind that, like other cool-season crops, growing beets in containers are meant to grow in cold climates and are even able to tolerate moderate frost.
You can plant beet seeds somewhere between March and April or June and September, however, the ideal time may vary depending on your location. If you want a constant supply of recently-picked beets, leave 20 days in between plantations and ensure beet crops receive proper care like moisture control, sunlight, and fertilizer or compost. Preferably, the soil should be at a temperature of 50°F or 10°C at the time of planting. You can use a soil thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Yes, you can grow beets in a 5-gallon bucket. When using a 5-gallon bucket as a container for this root vegetable, the same planting rules apply. You should plant beet seeds 1/4 inch deep and 4- 6 inches apart. If the opening of the gallon is small, you can space the seeds about 3 inches. Since the circumference of a 5-gallon bucket is small, you may need to thin beet plants after they’ve reached 2” or 5 cm in height. You can thin their plants to around 3-4 inches or 7cm to 10cm apart by using scissors. Thinning helps with proper air circulation and avoid leaf miners. You can also move beets to different containers or pots. Ideally, you’d want to choose a small beet variety when you’re using a 5-gallon bucket to avoid overcrowding.
Beets are not necessarily picky with containers. As long as the container is spacious, deep, and has sufficient drainage holes for proper root development, beet will grow and thrive.
- Composting At Home. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
- Compacted Soils Are Dangerous For Your Plants. Retrieved from: https://www.sundaygardener.net/compacted-soils-are-dangerous-for-your-plants/
- Why Spacing Is So Important When Planting. Retrieved from. https://www.rocketgardens.co.uk/spacing-important-planting/
Alex lives in the sustainability capital of Australia (Byron Bay) where the local community thrives and strongly supports self-sufficient living and green tech entrepreneurship. He began Eco Peanut in 2014 with the mission to spread bite sized sustainability advice to the masses.