Root crops such as beets can be successfully grown hydroponically.
A methodology that uses ample media to support the plants while the roots develop is necessary. Ebb and flow systems lend themselves well to root crops, but others, such as aeroponics work also.
Growing Beets Hydroponically
- Nutrient pH 6.0 to 6.5
- EC 0.8-5
- PPM – 1260-3500
Best Containers and Grow Media for Hydroponic Beets
A container has to be the correct size to accommodate your beets at their peak. Beet sizes vary somewhat dependent on variety, but they basically attain a size of about 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
The containers should be at least 4 inches in diameter by at least 6 inches deep in order to accommodate the beetroots and their capillaries. I sometimes use grow bags, but basically any container will suffice.
A blend of perlite, vermiculite will work even better. A little peat blended in is not a bad idea – but not absolutely necessary. Perlite-Vermiculite blend or expanded Clay pebbles both have proven advantages.
Be sure to leave some head space, at least an inch, more if possible, between the filler from your reservoir and the containers top.
Temperature and Lighting for Hydroponic Beets
Beets are a cool-weather crop, they will survive chills but don’t fare well in the intense summer heat. Air Temperatures of 60-65 F during their active growing periods are best.
See Hydroponic Temperature for info related to nutrient solution temperatures.
If you are growing them outdoors, a well-lit location is best – partial shade will suffice, but not full shade. Indoors Grow Lights need to provide 6 – 8 hours of light daily.
Starting Beet Seeds for Hydroponics
For plants started in soil, rinse off the roots of your seedlings to remove any soil particles, which can interfere with your solution. Place the plants roots in a container of weak nutrient solution at about 1/4 strength, to soak for about half an hour.
A stronger solution can shock the plants.
Beet Hydroponic Nutrient Requirements
Beets are heavy feeders. They need fertilizer/ nutrients. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient during the season to grow properly. However, you can’t simply dump a ton of nitrogen into the solution, or even use a very high nitrogen solution and expect the plant to synthesis it correctly. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
One method is to add slow release nitrogen such as Neptunes Harvest Crab Shell.
Another method is by supplying hydroponically grown beets with humic acid which has been shown to increase yields dramatically . Humic Acid facilitates nutrient uptake in plants and lends itself well to the hydroponic scenario.
Related: Growing Spinach Hydroponically