In this article, we will talk about how to grow beetroots in a hydroponics system, as well as other aspects of cultivation – from planting seeds and creating the right growth conditions for beetroot, to harvesting. Although hydroponics gardening is not common in many households, this innovative method of plant cultivation deserves a try. Furthermore, if you reside in a place that tends to have constantly changing and extreme weather conditions, hydroponic gardening is the way to go. Since hydroponics can take place indoors without occupying much space, you won’t have to worry if you lack enough gardening space outside.
Beetroots are a root vegetable that offers plenty of health benefits when consumed. They are suitable for being grown if you are new to hydroponics, as they are relatively simple to look after.
They won’t require any staking or thinning, and they are also less likely to be attacked by pests.
Altogether, your hydroponic beets will take about six to eight weeks to grow and can be harvested from the middle of summer to near the end of the fall.
Steps to growing beetroot in a hydroponics system
Beetroot flowers are enjoined together by their petals, causing them to grow together in clusters, and eventually producing multigerm seeds that contain two to four seeds inside. This leads to the growth of many seedlings, and it is important to trim them to produce a healthy crop of beetroots.
Planting beets is easier when you cultivate them from their seeds. This also allows for higher production of beetroot vegetables. Once seeds are planted, the seed coat can take up to a week to soften, and for the seeds to germinate. The growing media must also remain damp throughout the germination stage, as the seeds require moisture to germinate. Once grown into seedlings with a couple of leaves, you may start trimming away excess or unhealthy seedlings before transplanting them into the hydroponics system. The best results come when germination occurs over one to two weeks at a range of 55 to 75°F. Sow the seeds about half to a full inch deep in their pots or the hydroponic system.
Beetroots are one of the root vegetables that can be cultivated from transplanting, given that the seedlings have been moved before becoming unhealthy and constricted at their base. It is advised to let the plants grow in a modular tray for no more than three weeks, with one seed cluster in each module. Once they begin sprouting, thin the seedlings, except the healthiest one.
When removing the seedlings from the tray, be careful not to pull them out as this might damage the roots of those in the tray. Instead, cut the stem with your fingernails or some scissors to avoid causing stress and damage to the seedlings.
Creating the right growth conditions for beetroots
Grow media offer vital support for seedlings as they grow. To create your growing media, opt for perlite-vermiculite mixture, as it is good for moisture retention. This mixture, along with expanded clay pebbles, is beneficial for the hydroponic cultivation of tuber vegetables. Add the growing medium to your growing net, and don’t forget to leave at least one inch of space between the reservoir and the top of the container.
The size of your hydroponics container
The size of the hydroponics container needs to be big enough to hold your beetroot vegetables. Beetroots are usually one to two inches in diameter, although their sizes will vary based on type. Ideally, containers should be at least four inches in diameter, and at least six inches deep to fit the beetroots and their long stems adequately.
Temperature and lighting
Beets are grown in the colder seasons – they can handle cold weather but are less likely to grow healthily during the hot summers. Ideally, the surrounding temperature should be 60 to 65°F when they are growing. If they are being grown indoors, use a grow light to supply six to eight hours of light daily. If they are grown outdoors, it is best to place them where there is plenty of sunlight. Having some shade is enough, but avoid shading them completely.
Add and stir soluble hydroponic fertilizer into some water before adding it to the tray or tank of the system. The amount of fertilizer to be added will depend on what kind it is, and its specific contents. Be sure to read and follow the steps given on the packet. Often, not a lot of fertilizer is required like a teaspoon of fertilizer for every gallon of water.
If you prefer, you may add additional cups of nutrient solution to another shallow container before adding twice the amount of water. The result can be used as a soaking solution to condition seedlings to adjust to the nutrient mixture in the system. Carefully choose your nutrient solution, as the beetroots will require a high amount of nutrients similar to hydroponically grown radishes and carrots. Even though there are important nutrients like nitrogen, adding high concentrations of it will not result in the plant’s healthy growth. As such, it is recommended that you purchase a nutrient solution that is specially made for beetroot cultivation. Other conditions that need to be met for healthy growth include maintaining pH levels of 6.0 to 6.5, EC levels of 0.8 to 5, and ppm levels of 1260 – 3500.
Gathering fully grown beetroots
Though most types of beetroots require 50 to 70 days for full growth, they can be harvested at any time of their growth stages. You will have to wait longer if you intend to harvest larger beetroots, but know that they will become tougher and woodier as they grow.
Avoid letting their stems grow to more than six inches before gathering them, and don’t discard the top. Known as beet greens, they contain more nutrition than the roots and are known for having a tasty and distinguishable flavor.
Fresh beetroots can be kept in a fridge for five to seven days, and cutting away their top sections will allow them to stay fresh longer. Cut the greens away to leave an inch of stem per beetroot, and store the greens in another place.
In sum, growing beetroot in a hydroponics system is relatively simple if you monitor and take care of them well throughout the various growth stages. Remember to select the right container and nutrient solution for your beetroot crop, and to ensure that they have enough light and warmth to grow as healthily as possible. With enough effort, you can look forward to harvesting a fresh batch of beetroots in no time at all.