Growing Your Own Beetroot In Pots And Containers
How To Successfully Grow Your Own Beetroot In Pots
There was a time when the only beetroot you could buy in a lot of stores was the pickled variety in jars. Fortunately, that is changing and fresh beetroot is now a regular stock in many supermarkets. Even so, nothing can actually beat the flavour of beetroots that have been grown and harvested from your own pots, cooked and eaten within hours. The full flavour of beetroot can be enjoyed by baking them in the oven, or cut and sliced thinly, they add wonderful colour and flavour to salads. Growing vegetables in pots is an excellent way to produce your own food at home if space is limited, or if conditions in the garden are not suitable. For many, the ease of having a few pots outside the back door or on a balcony is a more convenient option for growing their own vegetables. It makes it easily accessible and manageable and can be the difference between successfully growing year after year, rather than finding working a whole vegetable garden a chore and giving up.
Start sowing the seeds in late spring or summer, or if you want to force an earlier crop, sow earlier in spring under protection of a cloche. You will probably have more seedlings appearing than will happily grow in the one pot. This is partly due to the fact that the seeds you get in packets are actually a cluster of them stuck together. This does have a benefit as the thinnings that you remove, in order to provide space for the ones left behind, can be eaten as baby leaf salad. For mature beetroot the leaves can also be used for cooking in stir fries or steamed as a substitute for spinach or chard.
Beetroot are a relatively quick growing plant and can be ready for harvesting from between 10-12 weeks. Rather than having a glut of produce all ready at the same time, successionally sow the seeds every 3-4 weeks to have a steady supply all through the season. Harvest when small, avoiding the temptation to allow them to grow too big, as beetroot can get tough if left too long, especially if growing conditions are left too much on the dry side.
Beetroot is an easy vegetable to grow but it does have a tendency to bolt in hot weather. Varieties have been developed that offer some bolt resistance but even these may run to seed if the conditions prove too hot and dry. Beetroot makes an ideal vegetable to grow in pots as they can be moved from one position in the garden or growing space to another, to take advantage of more protection or cooler positioning. Because of theire tolerance to shade, they also make an ideal vegetable to grow if shade is a problem in the garden. Even if the beet themselves only grow to a small size, not all is lost due to the leaves also being edible.
To further prevent the risk of bolting and to also ensure the beetroot don’t split, keep the compost moist at all times. Regular deep watering is better than intermittent or more frequent but minimal watering, as this will encourage the plant to put down deep roots which will make it stronger and healthier and less prone to the risks related to drying out. Beetroot prefer a deep growing medium so ideally choose a pot at least 30cm deep to keep them happy.
Beetroot is one of the best vegetables to grow in pots. It benefits from the portability of being able to be moved to cooler areas to prevent bolting and its attractive colouring makes it an attractive plant to have on display if arranged near the house. For the price of one packet of seeds, successional growing in pots can provide you with cheap, fresh and tasty beetroot all summer long.
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