They are rated as ‘easy’, but I’m very close to admitting defeat in growing beetroot on the balcony. Sure, the green, leafy tops are easy to grow in a container – the seeds germinate in just over a week, tops are ready to cut in about a month. Beet greens have their own unique flavour and are a tasty addition to a balcony-grown salad. But it’s the root I’ve been trying to get to grow for the last three years without success.
My sister on the Sunshine Coast has got it figured out. Lucky her – she’s still harvesting at this time of year.
But back to the balcony. I’ve got the right exposure for the plant, as they grow in full sun or part shade. I believe my big problem is cold spring temperatures. I’ve read that beets won’t produce roots if planted when the soil is too cold. They prefer a soil temperature of 10–25°C. That means beets would be one of the last planted in a container in Zone 3. And the container would need to be in full sun and probably should be black to absorb as much of the day’s heat as possible.
Our spring temperatures can be fickle. My strategy then might be to tuck a black container in front of the alpine troughs, so it gets full south exposure in the spring. And plant at the end of June or first week in July. Or in late June, I could buy plants instead of starting seed. Or get a plot at a community garden and plant seed directly in-ground – where the temperature would be more consistent (warmer?) in the spring.
Maybe I’m not done with beetroot yet…