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Beets in a Pot
If you've ever grown tomatoes in a pot, you know the excitement of seeing those little yellow flowers and imagining those plump, juicy vine-ripened delights . . . it just happens so naturally . . . and it's so easy. You can do the same thing with beets . . . plus, with beets, you get the added bonus of edible, nutritious greens!
Just about the time after you've harvested your tomatoes (August or September in an average year), it's time to plant cool-season beet starts (you can do this in March, too).
I found "golden" beet starts at my local nursery. What a thrill to think I could grow those pretty golden beets I admired just a week earlier in the grocery store (from Peru, I think).
Growing the beets
Growing beets in a pot is ideal because the bagged soil you use for a pot is free of rocks and pebbles that can hinder growth.
I cleaned out an old pot and added Gardener & Bloome Harvest Supreme, a little veggie food, and the starts, and then I watered my new baby greens. Beets like cool weather and sun, so I found a sunny spot and left them alone. Forty-five days later, I had leafy greens, bulging roots, and ready-to-eat golden beets.
If you're growing beets from seed, the typical growing period is 50 to 55 days. In milder climates, you can start the seeds later in the fall, but they will not survive a freeze.
I didn't water them much because we had quite a bit of rain where I live, but if your climate is dry, keep the soil moist.
Some of the beets turned out puny . . . so I think they needed a little more room in the pot. I had six starts in a 36-inch pot. Next time, I'll try three or four starts in the same sized pot.
Beets in another pot
When preparing beets to eat, you can boil them or bake them or eat them raw. If you eat them raw, peel the beets before you pop them in your mouth or grate them in a salad. Although the skin is thin, it is tough. If you boil the root, the skin will slip off. Golden beets are a wonderful addition to many dishes because the golden color contrasts so well with sweet morsels like raisins and pomegranates. I found a recipe for a beet and pomegranate salad that I'm excited to try. This root vegetable is also an excellent source of folic acid.
When preparing the greens, you can steam them for five to seven minutes . . . add a little salt and vinegar for a tasty vegetable dish. [Ed. note: Or add the chopped, raw greens to a stir-fry.] The greens are actually higher in nutritional value than the roots.
There you have it. Beets in a pot . . . a far cry from beets in a can.
The Growing Gardener is Gina Renee Lozier, a Seattle-area resident, a landscape and container garden designer, and an enthusiastic student of horticulture.
The Growing Gardener copyright 2008-2013.