QUESTION: Can beets be grown in pots? How big should the pot be to harvest the beetroot, not just the greens? -Jill D
ANSWER: Beets are praised for their ability to grow in nearly any climate or soil condition, so it’s no wonder that they are also well suited to growing in pots and containers as well. As beets are a root vegetable, depth is the most important factor to consider when selecting an appropriate pot to plant your beets in. Select containers that are at least 17 inches deep to give your beet plant’s roots enough room to develop and mature properly.
Beets can adapt to just about any soil you plant them in, but if you are growing your beets in pots, it is often just as simple to provide the optimal setup than it is to stick them in any kind of soil that you have laying around. So, why not take the time to provide their preferred growing environment. Beets prefer loose, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
As beets are root vegetables, it’s important that they are given loose soil that is free of compaction, clumps, rocks, and any other soil obstructions which can cause beets to grow deformities. In the garden beds, most soils have enough nutrition to provide your beet crops with all the food they need to develop large, healthy fruits.
However, when growing in containers, even though they are not voracious feeders, beet plants can still quickly use up all the available nutrients in their containers during a single growing season. If you are reusing the same containers and potting soil that you grew your beets in last season, you will need to replace the nutrients in the potting soil that last year’s plants used up to produce healthy fruit.
An all-purpose fertilizer with equal NPK levels will work perfectly for this task. A small amount of this all-purpose balanced fertilizer can also be added to the soil while watering once per growing season to give your beets a nutritious boost when they need it the most.
Don’t forget you can grow beets to harvest the greens. They make a great addition to a stir-fry and are often overlooked.