You can grow beets indoors but they’re a root vegetable that needs a full growing season of undisturbed growth. While it’s practical to grow beets indoors at the seed germination stage and then move outside to grow on, it would take a considerable commitment of space to grow beets indoors, to harvest-maturity.
The best place to grow beets is outdoors…
There are some who like to grow beets and other plants indoors. It can be done but you need to allocate space and you need to use containers that are deep enough. Beets need space for the root or bulb to grow into. An ideal size container would be 6 to 10inches deep. Beets need depth as much as they need width.
Drainage holes will be needed to avoid water logging. It will help with drainage if you place small stones or pebbles in the bottom of the container. This will allow for the roots of the beets to explore into a stony region where they have access to air and moisture.
When sowing seeds for beets you need to place them at least 3 inches apart.
…but you can grow beets indoors.
Some germinate beets in seedling trays and transplant them into larger containers when they’ve grown big enough. If you’re going to do this,the best way to do it is to grow beets from seed in small biodegradable pots. This way, the roots of the developing beets can be left undisturbed. The fine root-hairs on the growing beets tend to be very delicate and can be damaged when you take them out of a pot to be dug into a larger container.
When the seedling beets have grown to 1½ to 2 inches tall they can be planted in the container where you want them to grow on to maturity.
It’s easier to grow beets by sowing
seeds into a large container
There is no need to grow beets in starter seed-pots. It’s much simpler to sow the beets seeds straight into the soil mixture in the deep container.
Depending on which beetroot variety you use, the seeds will be either in a mono-pod containing one seed or a multi seed pod containing a number of seeds.
It will help to encourage germination if you soak the seed pods in water overnight before sowing.
Using your finger,make holes about one inch deep in the soil in your container, spacing them at about three inches apart.
Because of the variation in nature, you can’t expect all the seeds in a pod to germinate. So, to be sure of having a good chance of any germination you need to plant two seed pods in each hole that you make.
If a number of seeds happen to germinate then you will have a clump of beets that will have to be thinned out to leave just one plant to grow on. The plants that you remove could be carefully replanted to grow elsewhere. This may end up as the way that you germinate and grow all of your beets.
After planting you need to give them a good watering but don’t saturate, they need to be damp. Expect the seeds to show signs of germination after about a week. Keep them watered but don’t over do it.
Allow the seedling beets to grow for about a week to establish what’s happening. Then you can intervene and thin out any clumps of beets that have emerged. This may be as easy as just cutting away the surplus beets using a sharp knife or scissors or delicately removing complete seedlings and transplanting them to where they can grow independently.
Whatever you want to grow,
weeds will grow as well.
If you attempt to grow beets indoors or any other vegetable plant, it’s quite likely that weeds will show up among your desired crop-plants. This is almost inevitable if you have used garden soil as part or all of your container mix. Weeds always seem to grow faster than the things that you want.
Weeds are easily managed. Wait until the beets have grown to a size where you can easily identify which is friend and which is foe or you may end up pulling out beets by mistake. The weeds are easy to pull out and need to be removed. Apart from the look of it, weeds will take moisture and nutrients that you need to grow beets.
To grow beets you need light
This applies to anything that you want to grow indoors. You will need to find a window where the sunlight pours in. All plants appreciate six to eight hours of sunlight every day and beets are no exception.
The problem here is that it’s not always convenient to place a long term plant-growing project near a window where you may want to keep clear for other reasons.
You can grow anything under artificial light
This is when you can turn to using artificial light. There are LED light panels which can be suspended over growing plants. This will give you full control over the amount of light that your plants get, regardless of the amount of natural sunlight that’s available or the time of year.
There are specially designed indoor gardens that are suitable for growing productive plants indoors using hydroponics. These have timers which allow you to select the period of light that you want for your plants and they have indicators to show when more water is required. This type of setup may not be as effective when trying to grow beets indoors to the point of harvest; it wouldn’t be practical. They would, however, be very effective at quickly establishing young plants which can then be transplanted to grow on, indoors or outside. Hydroponic gardens, indoors, are ideal if you want to grow a whole range of salad crops.You can see more about this, starting at indoor farms for fresh salad.
Look out for diseases and aphids
You can have problems with diseases and aphids if you grow beets indoors or outside in a vegetable patch. When you grow beets or anything else indoors, you have a bit of an advantage. Any plants growing in containers indoors are going to be right there in front of you where you’re more likely to notice if anything is happening
If you see aphids on the leaves they can be brushed or washed off. Diseases on beets or anything else grown indoors in containers is less likely to happen because the soil tends to be drier. Beets grown outside are left to the vagaries of the weather which can involve long damp periods.
When you grow beets indoors you have much more control over the general humidity. This makes it harder for fungal diseases to get a foot-hold.
Fungus will grow on any damp surface
There is one fungal disease that you need to look out for. It’s known as the Cercospora leaf spot and appears to target beets. It’s identified as patches of spots on the leaves and will spread over the whole leaf. The only way to deal with this is to remove the entire leaf immediately.
If just one leaf is infected the plant should survive but if many leaves have been covered with spots you may need to discard the whole plant.
Beets that are grown close together in a container can be a temptation for fungus. You can take the outer leaves from beets that are in full growth. This will allow for more air movement between plants which will help to reduce the onset of fungal-spot invasion.
The fresh healthy leaves that you take can go in a salad.
When watering beets in containers, don’t allow the leaves to become wet. When beet leaves are dry, fungus will find it very difficult to grow.
So,can you grow beets indoors?
To sum up
If you’re asking the question ‘Can you grow beets indoors?’ the answer is yes, just like you can grow any plant indoors but you have to wonder if it’s worth the effort. Beets are a root crop. They perform well outdoors in a garden plot. The harvested part is below ground where it’s largely protected. It may be a better option to germinate the beets seeds indoors, perhaps, using a modern hydroponic system of growing plants indoors, then transplanting them to the garden patch when they’ve grown enough.
Image sources: Phot 1 | Photo 2 | Photo 3