Beets can be a bit of an acquired taste, but they’re packed with nutrients which makes them an excellent vegetable to grow. Beets are a cooler weather plant, and do well even in locations a bit cooler than normal. This gives you lots of options of where to grow them, and can open up spaces other plants wouldn’t thrive in. So let’s jump in, and learn to start growing beets indoors.
Choosing a Variety
First, you’ll want to choose a variety to plant. Beets come in a large variety of colors that can add a lot of flair to your garden. The care tips are generally the same, so choose which one appeals to you.
Here’s a couple popular varieties:
Detroit Dark Red: A traditional variety, grows a dark red color.
Touchstone Gold: Takes on a more yellowish golden color.
Avalanche: This variety takes on a more white color
That’s just a small sample of varieties; beets come in a wide range of colors that can fit almost any aesthetic.
The next step is selecting an appropriate container. Being a root, beets tend to grow deep but not too wide. With that in mind, you want to make sure your chosen container is at last 10” deep.
Outside of depth, any sized container will work. A single beet plant needs only about 3” in width, so you can use that to estimate the size of your container based on how many beets you want to grow.
You should also ensure that your chosen container has proper drainage. If your container lacks drainage holes make sure to add some before adding your soil.
When planting start with a loose, well draining potting soil. Most commercial potting soils will be good, but you can also use vegetable specific soil. Beets like a neutral PH, so avoid any soils that are marketed as going too far from this.
If you’re starting from seeds it’s best to sow them directly into their final container. While you can transplant beets, it is a bit difficult and it’s easier to not have to later. Make sure to give each seed about 3” of space. Beets sown too closely together can often grow misshapen.
Once sown, the seeds will begin to sprout in about 2-3 weeks. Beets are a bit of a cold weather plant, so it’s not necessary to keep the soil warmer than their surroundings.
Beets do require a good amount of light, and you’ll want to ensure that they get 6-8 hours per day. They can handle bright light, but in-direct light will also work.
Beets can get a bit leggy, so it’s a good idea to rotate them every few days. This helps them get even light, and keeps them strong.
Lastly, grow lights are always an option. A well placed grow light can help hit your beet’s sunlight needs, especially in the winter when light intensity can be an issue.
Watering and Feeding
Beets enjoy a soil that is consistently moist but not soaked. They generally require water every couple of days, and you should ensure that they get a deep watering that moistens the soil completely.
Before watering, check the top inch or so of the soil and make sure it’s dry. If it is, that’s a good sign that they need water.
During the summer you can also mist them lightly each day to keep them moist without overwatering.
For feeding, use a diluted, balanced fertilizer a few weeks after the plant has sprouted. You can also add a slow release fertilizer to the soil which should last you until harvest time.
While beets can grow quite large they have the most flavor when harvested at around the size of a golf ball. This generally takes about 7-8 weeks after planting. At this point, the stem and leaves will be roughly 4” tall, another good way to tell when the plant is ripe.
To harvest, simply pull the plant out of soil, root and all. Make sure not to disturb nearby plants if growing multiple in the same container.
You can also harvest just the leaves if you wish for the plant to grow a bit longer. In this case, only take about ⅓ of the available leaves or you risk stunting the plant’s growth.
Growing Beets Indoors
Beets are a fantastic vegetable to grow. They’re not very difficult, and packed with nutrients making them a healthy addition to many meals. Have you ever grown beets? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it.