Beetroot or beets as they are commonly called add color and flavor to the otherwise boring salad. Although the bulbous root is what is normally consumed, almost every part of the plant is edible. Growing beetroots in your home vegetable garden can be a satisfying and enjoyable experience if you know the right methods and techniques. It is a fast growing plant and is easier to grow and maintain than you might think. Here are the steps for growing beets in your home garden.
Once known as “blood turnips” due to their blood-red color, and Beta Vulgaris in latin, beetroots fall in the same family as chard. The most common variety we see in the market is dark red table beet. There are other varieties such as white, golden, orange and striped beets too. There are different varieties of beets such as Early Wonder, Ruby Queen, Burpy Golden, etc.
Choosing the container
Beetroot plant is compact and doesn’t spread around much. This makes it a wonderful plant to grow in containers in your home garden. It is important that the container is deep enough for the root to grow conveniently. A container with a depth of 8 to 12 inches is ideal. The container should have sufficient drainage holes.
Preparing the soil
Beets grow well in a soil that is well-drained and enriched with garden compost or vermicompost. Adding wood ash to the soil will provide potassium that will help the plant grow better. A pH of 6.2 to 7 is ideal for the plant.
Although the seeds can germinate in cooler soil, 10 degree Celsius is the ideal temperature for optimal sprouting. Spring and fall are the best seasons for planting beets. Once you have prepared your soil, you can plant the seeds about ½ inch deep in it and about 2 inches apart from one another. Plant them in rows keeping a distance of about 12 inches between them. Keep the soil moist to facilitate the germination process. It takes about 5-10 days for the beet seeds to germinate.
Thinning is important for the better growth of plants. Remove the weaker seedlings soon after germination. For planting in hotter weather conditions, special attention must be given to watering and mulching the soil. Weeding should be performed to eliminate the possibility of growing deformed beetroots.
The most common pests that can attack the beet leaves are aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners, etc. However, these insects do not affect the roots. Certain leaf spot diseases may also affect the beetroot plant. Growing the plants in a spot with full sunshine and excellent air circulation will help keep these problems to a minimum. Removing the affected leaves is another important way of stopping the disease from spreading.
When the bulbous beetroots grow to at least the size of a golf ball, it is time to harvest them and use in your salad or other food items.
Follow these steps for growing beetroot in a home vegetable garden and you will be on your way to a bountiful harvest of beets right in that green heaven in your house.