Urban gardeners don’t always have the luxury of a big backyard to plant vegetables. There may be a shortage of space when living in apartments and small homes, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing a small potted vegetable garden on your windowsill. And what are balconies and patios for? You can set up a garden wherever you find some spare space and sunlight! Beets, for one, won’t complain about growing indoors in pots. Enriched with the essential nutrients, home-grown beets bring an overload of flavor and health benefits to your plate!
You won’t have to wait for the proper temperatures to plant these cool-season crops. With suitable indoor temperatures, it might even be possible to grow and harvest beets year round! Not sure where to start? Continue reading, and you’ll learn everything there is to know on how to grow beets indoors.
What Kind Of Plant Beetroot Is?
Beets, also called beetroot, table beet, garden beet, or dinner beet, are nutritional powerhouses that are easy to grow and incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Though most stores will only sell the roots, the entire plant and the leaves are edible and pack loads of benefits.
One of the best parts about growing beets at home is that you can grow the healthiest beets and reap benefits from all their parts.
How To Cook With Beets?
Beet green, a beautiful blend of dark green and red, are sweet and soft and, once you cook it, turns into a silky, tender dish of greens, just like spinach. With a rich, sweet, and earthy flavor, you can steam, boil, or roast beets.
You can also shred and saute them to serve them as a side dish. Pickled beets are also popular in many countries. For example, Australian hamburgers aren’t complete without a slice of pickled beetroot. In Eastern Europe, beet soup is a traditional favorite. The vegetable is also a staple in Indian cuisine.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Beets?
Other than being a global ingredient, beets pack a nutritious punch. They’re rich in fibers, folates, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, and iron, and best of all, they are low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
They improve your blood flow, keep your blood pressure under check, and improve your athletic performance. In short, beets are excellent vegetables to incorporate into your regular diet.
Is there a better way to include them into your dietary routine than to grow them on your window? It's a versatile plant with bright colors to fill up your room and healthy edibles that will be ready for eating within weeks!
How To Grow Your Beets Indoors?
When given the proper care and rich, moist soil, beets grow quickly and easily indoors, producing an excellent harvest within the next few months. Though it’s not challenging, if this is your first time as an indoor gardener or you haven’t grown beets indoors before this, you should follow the recommended method.
Below, we’ve listed some essential instructions to plant beet seeds and take care of the young plants until they’re ready to be picked. So, here’s how to grow beets indoors in a pot:
How To Plant Beet Seeds Into A Pot?
Start by setting up the container. Beets need some room to grow bigger, so choose a container that’s at least 10 inches (about 25 cm) deep. Drill drainage holes at the bottom if there already aren’t any, and place a tray underneath the pot to catch the excess water. Cover the holes with newspaper or paper towels before adding soil. Choose light, sandy, and fertile soil to fill the pots.
Is It Ok To Soak The Beet Seeds Before Planting?
Beet ‘seeds’ are actually pods, each containing several tiny seeds within. Soaking the pods for 3 to 4 hours before sowing them helps open them up for germination. Next, poke ¾ inches (about 2 cm) deep holes into the soil surface spaced 3 inches (about 7,5 cm) apart, and place a pod into each hole and cover it lightly with soil. Lastly, water the seeds.
Where Do Beets Grow Best?
Place the pots near a window or any other location that receives plenty of sunlight. Water the soil every other day to keep it moist and wait for germination, usually taking about 5 to 10 days.
Since the pods contain many seeds, many plants may sprout from the planting points. Once most of the seeds have sprouted, thin the seedlings to maintain 3 inches (7,5 cm) of space between the plants. Water the plants regularly and evenly, keeping the soil slightly moist at all times.
When Can I Harvest My Beets?
Beetroots will typically come to harvest in about 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the variety. But, you can also gather and consume beet greens throughout the season if you want. Young leaves are tender and work best for salads and stir-fries. The roots are best harvested once they’re about the size of a golf ball.
What Conditions Do Beets Need To Grow?
So far, you know the basics of growing beets indoors. However, there are still some specific growing conditions to learn about if you want to harvest the sweetest, juiciest beets. Here’s what you should know:
How Much Sunlight Do Beets Need To Grow?
Beets appreciate a well-lit environment. Place them near a sunny window where they get 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Rotate the pots every few days, so the plants receive even exposure to sunlight.
If there isn’t enough light and warmth coming through the windows in winters, the better option is to place the pots under grow lights. A full-spectrum grow light, kept on for about 12 hours each day, is ideal for beets. Please make sure the height of the lights is at least 2 to 4 inches (about 5 to 10 cm) above the top of the plants as they grow to prevent scorching the leaves.
In What Temperature Do Beets Grow Best In?
Make sure your indoor environment is comfortable for the plants. They’ll grow well all year round as long as the temperature is consistent and within the range of 50 – 85°F (10 – 29°C). If you’re growing the plants under artificial lighting, make sure it maintains a temperature of about 70°F (about 21°C) in the surrounding.
How Often Do Beets Need Watering?
To water the plants, poke your finger to check if the first inch (about 2,5 cm) of soil is dry. If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plants. The idea is to keep the soil evenly moist at all times but, at the same time, avoid overwatering.
Should I Fertilize My Beets?
Mix the potting soil with a slow-release 5-10-10 fertilizer when you sow the seeds to keep the plants nourished for root development. Once the seedlings are a month old, you can apply a 5-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer to replenish the nutrient supply.
What Beet Varieties Are Excellent For Indoor Growing?
As long as you choose a container with enough depth, most beet varieties will do fine even when grown indoors. But, here are some of the preferred types for growing in small spaces. They’ll work ideally for your indoor vegetable garden:
1. Red Ace Hybrid
This cold-hardy variety matures in 50 days, producing sweet, small globular roots, perfect for container growing.
2. Moulin Rouge
Maturing in 55 to 60 days, this variety has a beautiful dark red flesh and grows small roots, ideal for growing indoors in pots. In addition, they’re perfect for warmer climates since they prefer full sun exposure and slightly higher temperatures than other varieties.
3. Bull’s Blood
They mature in 50 to 60 days, producing vibrant red foliage and medium-sized roots. It’s a beautiful addition to your indoor landscape and a healthy treat for the tummy.
4. Early Wonder
These fast-growing beets mature in 45 to 50 days, producing abundant greens and sweet, 3 to 4 inches (about 7,5 to 10 cm) wide, deep red globes.
5. Detroit Dark Red
Maturing in 55 to 65 days, these are the standard heirloom beets to plant among gardeners. They give dark red, sweet beets with a classic flavor.
What Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Growing Beets Indoors?
Though beets are pretty straightforward to grow indoors, there are some things to take care of and, even more importantly, some things to avoid. Here are the things you should avoid:
- Much like other root crops, beets don’t like transplanting. So avoid starting beet seeds in seedling trays. Instead, plant them in their permanent container from the start.
- Make sure the soil is never waterlogged. Excess moisture can cause the roots to rot.
- Don’t keep the soil too dry. Beets like evenly moist soil. If they don’t get enough moisture, they’ll give you dry and cracked roots at harvest time.
- Please don’t pull out the seedlings when thinning the plants, or it may disturb the surrounding roots. Instead, clip the seedlings which you want to thin with a pair of scissors.
How To Grow Beets Indoors? – In A Sealed Package
|Temp Required||50 To 85°F (About 10 To 29°C)|
|Sowing Time||Late Summers And Early Autumn, All Year Indoors|
|Type Of Soil||Fertile And Sandy|
|Transplanting Time||Planted Indoors 3 To 4 Weeks Before You Want To Transplant Them|
|Harvesting Time||6 To 8 Weeks|
|Light Duration||6 To 8 Hours|
|Watering||Maintain Even Moisture|
|Fertilization||Low-nitrogen Fertilizer (e.g. 5-10-10) If Needed|
So, there it is – your complete guide on how to grow beets indoors! It’s a simple project, yet a rewarding one. Set up your indoor beets garden, sow the seeds, and watch them turn into vibrant plants that brighten up your room and dishes alike!
Featured image credit – Oxana A/Shutterstock.com