Intro: Along with being completely edible, beet plants have attractive foliage that help make a container garden beautiful. Beet plant care in urban kitchen gardens is easy. This plant does best in deep plant containers (more than 1 foot deep). Beet roots grow from about 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter, and leaves can be as tall and as wide as 1 foot. There are many beet plant varieties, including small varieties, those with red foliage, or yellow or white roots, and the best-tasting varieties (for leaves) are ‘Early Wonder’ and ‘Green Top Bunching.’ The best plant container varieties are ‘Mini Ball’ and ‘Baby Bal.’
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris var. vulgaris
Plant Type: Biennial vegetable
Light: Full sun
Water: Keep the beet plant’s potting soil constantly moist but not soggy. Never let the soil dry out.
Zone: 8 to 11. Grow in winter or spring, as beets grow in colder weather.
Fertilizer: For the best beet root taste, feed the plant every two weeks with fertilizer low in nitrogen. If you’re growing beets for the leaves, use a balanced fertilizer for the best taste.
Pests and Diseases: Leaf miners, aphids, beetles and more are pest insects that may affect your beets. Diseases can include leaf spot, beet mosaic, mildew and more.
Propagation: Propagate beet plants by seed. Plant two weeks before the last frost for spring growth. Plant one month before the first frost for fall growing. Plant seeds about an inch deep. If you are growing beet plants for their roots, keep the plants thinned out so they stay healthy and have good root growth (you can eat what you’ve thinned). If you are growing the beet plants for their leaves, don’t thin them out. If you want to harvest seeds, your beet will need to be grown as a biennial, and it will flower after their roots are matured.
Misc. Info: This crop grows quickly if you care for it – it reaches maturity just after 55 days. Harvest the leaves when they reach about 6 inches tall (young, tender leaves are best), and roots should be harvested when they are 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.