One of the best things about beet is that you can eat all of its parts, from its bulbous root to its green top. This root crop is usually red, gold, or striped. It is from the same family as Swiss chard, which makes the two share similar characteristics, including their health benefits. As a biennial plant, they will not grow flowers until their roots reach maturity. To achieve this, they need cold temperature for at least a month.
Before planting beets, it is essential to learn some of the varieties that are available and what you can expect in each of them. One of the most popular is Bull’s Blood Beet, which has deep burgundy leaves, which will make a great addition to salads. Chioggia Beet, on the other hand, has roots that can develop candy stripes at least two months after planting. Meanwhile, Red Ace Beet and Red Sangria Beet will fully grow their roots and ready to be eaten within 55 days after seeding.
Planting and Growing Conditions
Beets do not grow well as transplants. With this, a better option is to grow them from seeds. You can buy seed packets from a reputable supplier. The problem with seeds is that they have a hard outer shell, which will make the germination slower. With this, before planting, soak them in water for at least a night.
Now that the seeds are ready, it is time to prepare the soil and the container. The depth of the container should be at least 16 inches, which will provide the roots with more than enough room to grow. Make sure that there are also holes at the bottom, which will be essential for drainage. Fill the pot with your choice of potting soil. It should be nutrient-rich. It will be good to add organic matter or compost to improve aeration and absorption of nutrients.
Poke a hole on the top of the soil and this is where you will plant the seeds. Make sure that the holes are at least three inches apart, which will prevent overcrowding. Add a thin layer of soil on the top, press firmly, and you are now done.
After planting the seeds, the next important thing to do is to choose the right location. The best position would be near the window where it will receive full sun, yet there is partial shade. The temperature should be anywhere from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With the right conditions in the external environment, it will take about 40 to 80 days before beets will fully grow.
A versatile root crop, beets are not only delicious, but they are also teeming in terms of health benefits, including the following:
- Regulates Blood Pressure: For people who have hypertension, eating beets is good. It has nitrates, which, upon entering the body, will become nitric acid. In turn, this results in the dilation and relaxation of the blood vessels.
- Improves Eye Sight: Beet has beta-carotene, which is an essential compound for the prevention of macular degeneration, a common eyesight problem amongst the aging population. It also protects the eyes from damages that are due to free radicals.
- Improves Energy: The consumption of beets will provide you with the energy that you need to get through the day. This is important for those who are into sports and other physical activities. It provides energy without too many carbohydrates.
- Cleanses the Liver: Another good thing about eating beets is that it can help to flush out the fats in the liver. This is primarily because of betaine, a form of amino acid in beets. It also helps in lowering cholesterol.
- Helps in Weight Loss: If you are struggling to lose weight, eat more beets. It is a guilt-free food since one cup contains only 60 calories. As a rich source of fiber, it will also make you feel full easily and will reduce your cravings.
- Prevents Stroke: One of the reasons for stroke is the lack of potassium in the body. As a vasodilator, potassium will lessen the likelihood that there will be problems in the blood vessels and that you will suffer from a stroke.
Pests and Diseases
Without proper air circulation and absence of full sun, beets can be prone to a number of diseases, with leaf spot being one of the most common. Its edible leaves can be badly hurt by the disease, making it unattractive and inedible. Meanwhile, when it comes to pests, infestation in beets can be caused by leaf miners, aphids, and flea beetles.
Care and Maintenance
Here are some tips to make sure that your beets will grow successfully in containers and indoors:
- Moisture is important to maintain the health of the root crop. With this, one thing that you can do is to put damp newspapers at the bottom of the pot. Because there are holes, the soil will end up being moist but never soggy. They need consistent moisture to grow.
- It is also important to water regularly. Set up a schedule or perform a quick test on the soil. Poke it with your finger and if it is too dry, this is a sign that it needs water. At least an inch of water in a week will be best to prevent the roots from cracking and drying.
- Turn the container after every few days, especially if the plant is not able to receive full sun. Do this at least once after every couple of days. this will help to ensure the consistent growth of the plant.
- You should also know the right timing for harvest. While the root crop can grow to a size of a baseball, it is best to harvest once it grows to a size of a golf ball. This is the point where it is most flavorful. All that you have to do is to twist the foliage and pull the root out of the soil. Another indication that it is time to harvest is when the top reaches a height of at least four inches.
- When the plant grows bigger than the container before harvest, you can transplant it into a bigger pot. If the weather permits, you can also transfer it outdoors so that it will receive more sunlight, which can speed up its growth.
With nutrient rich soil, a sunny location, and proper care, it will be easy to grow beets. This is one of the best root crops to grow indoors not only because it adds a touch of color to your space, but also because all of its parts are edible.