Growing beet microgreens at home is very easy and requires no special conditions or grow lights.
The variety of beet microgreen shown in this article is Bull's Blood Beet. As you can see in the cover photo, these beet microgreens have a dark green leaf and burgundy red stems that extend up into the lower part and outside edge of the leaf.
Bull's Blood beet is a very attractive microgreen that foodies and chefs love for its contrasting colors, distinctive earthy flavor, and crunchy yet juicy texture.
The microgreens taste like a sweet mixture between root beets and spinach.
Also, like beetroots, the Bull's Blood Beet microgreens can "bleed" some red color into your food.
Eggs cooked with Bull's Blood beet microgreens have spectacular contrasting colors of yellow from of the eggs and a "bleeding" red color from the microgreens.
Bull's Blood Beet Microgreens will add a splash of color to your salads as well as texture and flavor.
Besides being tasty, beet microgreens are also nutritious containing vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, as well as antioxidants.
Growing Beet Microgreens
Before we get more into the nutritional value of beet microgreens, let me outline a few of the necessary steps for growing beet microgreens.
How to Grow Beet Microgreens
Growing beet microgreens is very easy, they grow very upright, so they are easy to harvest in 12 to 15 days after sowing the seed.
Beet microgreens are an excellent variety for first-time growers to plant, raise, and harvest.
The seeds are easy to handle, in fact, beet microgreen seeds are on the large size. The planting tray needs to be covered or blacked out for 5 or 6 days. Even though they germinate around the third day, it's best to keep the seeds covered for a longer period. More on this later in the post.
The Microgreens Podcast Episode 020
Ten Easy Steps
Below is a list of the ten steps to growing beet microgreens. For a more detailed explanation of the process, and to see a video of each step, take a look at Growing Microgreens for the First Time.
We'll be growing beet microgreens using the Home Microgreen Kit. If you don't have the kit, the photos will show you what supplies you'll need. You can click images to expand their size.
Note: Some of the images below are of the beta Home Microgreens Trays (opaque trays & red lids). The black trays and opaque lids are the new Home Microgreens Trays. Both are similar-sized, but the later use much less soil and are therefore more economical.
Add a premium potting mix to the planting tray.
A planting tray needs small holes in the bottom so water can be drawn up from below. Bottom watering is much better for the microgreens than watering from the top.
The soil should be firmly compacted and level just below the top of the tray. We prefer to use soil instead of a mat. Read this article on why I believe soil is a better growing medium.
Use a spray bottle to wet the soil surface with un-chlorinated water. Allow the water to soak into the soil, then respray the surface. If you see depressions or high spots on the soil, use your fingers to level the surface.
Many microgreen growers recommend soaking beet microgreen seeds between 8- and 24-hours. Home Microgreens tested this recommendation and published the results in Beet Microgreens – Does Soaking the Seeds Improve Germination?
We don't believe soaking the seeds is worth the time or trouble. But you can read the article and decide what would work better for you.
There are between 1,750 to 1,850 Bull's Blood beet seeds in an ounce. That's around 60 to 65 seeds per gram. For beets, you want about 9 or 10 seeds per square inch.
So if your planting tray surface is 37.5 square-inches you'd need around 5.2-grams of beet seeds for an excellent planting density. Below is a photo of 5.2-grams Bull's Blood beet microgreen seeds, or about one tablespoon.
If you're growing microgreens in your own tray, check out our handy Microgreen Seed Calculator!
If you follow our recommendation, add your beet seeds to a shaker bottle. A shaker bottle will allow you to spread the seeds more evenly.
However, if you soak your seeds, spread the same amount of seeds onto the planting tray surface and spread them out with your fingertips.
See how large and irregular beet seeds are? The seeds will still go through the shaker bottle holes, though.
Now that the soil surface is prepared it's time to sow the seeds.
If you follow our recommendation, use the shaker bottle and start sprinkling seeds onto the soil working in concentric circles around the planting tray. It can be helpful to hold your spare hand around the tray, so seeds don't bounce out of the tray.
Spread the seeds as evenly as possible across the surface. You may need to unscrew the top off the sprinkler bottle to get the last few seeds out of the bottle.
Once all the seeds are out of the bottle use your finger to spread out clumps of seeds to areas with fewer seeds. This is easy with beet seeds, the large size makes them easy to move around.
Or, if you soak your seeds, spread the same amount of seeds onto the planting tray surface and spread them out with your fingertips.
Don't worry if the seeds aren't perfectly spaced. The seeds will grow, and the plants will spread out to fill the voids.
Now it's time to prepare the beet seeds to germinate. Use the spray bottle again and wet the seeds. Go easy, so the seeds don't fly off the tray. The water will also help settle the seeds into the soil.
Place the planting tray inside the watering tray.
The watering tray is one that doesn't have holes and will hold water. Use a similar size tray, like in the Home Microgreen Kit, or you can use a larger tray.
Place a cover on the seeds (don't seal the tray tight), if the cover is transparent or opaque, use a tea towel or cut a piece of cardboard to fit the cover to keep light off the seeds.
Most microgreens can be left on the soil surface, but they need to be covered to keep light off them while they germinate (we tested this, read why it's important to blackout and weigh down seed by clicking this link).
Place a weight on top, this not only keeps the cover on but also encourages the plants to root into the soil media. Below we've used a fossil, now we use 5-pound weights! Don't worry, the growing plants are vigorous and will lift the cover as well as the weight as they grow.
Don't do anything for 2- to 3-days. Just let the seeds germinate and grow. The cover will retain enough moisture for the seeds to grow.
On day 2 or 3 you can look at the seeds an check the surface moisture of the tray. If it seems dry, go ahead and use the spray bottle to wet the surface.
For beets, regardless of how well they're germinating and growing, wait until day 5 or 6 before removing the cover.
At this point, you have a decision to make. If the germination rate looks good and the seedlings are similar to the ones in the image above you can remove the lid and allow the young plants to receive light.
If the plants are smaller, or the germination rate is low, check the soil surface to see if it is dry. If so, use the spray bottle and wet the surface again and place the cover back over the tray. Let the seeds germinate for another day or two before checking on them again.
Now that the beet microgreens have germinated and started to root and grow it's time to get them in some light. There's a lot of discussion about what light is best for microgreens. We think it's best to give them as much light as possible.
After all, light is where the plants get their energy to grow. Whether it be sunlight, cheap LED lighting, or a special grow light, give them as much as you can. Don't fret over it, just do the best you can with what you have.
Read this series of posts on using LED grow lights or LED shop lights.
Don't worry if the plants looked squashed and crooked, once they receive light they will straighten up and gain better color. If the soil surface looks very dry, use the spray bottle to wet the surface. But this will be the last time you use the spray bottle.
Don't spray the plants with water if the surface is even the slightest bit moist, go to step 9.
Now we just let the beet microgreens grow and give them water from the bottom. Here's where the watering tray comes into play.
Memorize how the weight of the dry tray feels. Judging the weight this way is how you'll know when to water again.
Add water to the watering tray, a quarter of an inch works at first. Set the planting tray in the water and allow it to absorb the water from below.
Watering from the bottom keeps the leaves and stems dry, eliminating the possibility of damping-off disease and stopping soil from splashing up on the plants.
The first time you water you may have to add more water because the majority of the soil in the tray is dry. Afterward, you won't need to add as much water.
Every other day check the weight of the tray to see if it needs water. The need will depend on the humidity and amount of air moving across the tray.
Below are some photos of how the beet microgreens look as they grow. You can click on the image to expand the size.
Time to harvest!
In 12 to 15 days the beet microgreens will be ready to harvest. Once they are around 3-inches tall, you can harvest them.
We have harvested Bull's Blood Beet microgreens both during the cotyledon stage and after the first true leaves form and haven't noticed too much of a difference in taste or texture.
If anything, there might be less moisture in the stems after the true leafs form, as the stems toughen a bit to help support the weight of the plant.
The point is, you don't have to be in a hurry to harvest beet microgreens if you don't need them, let them grow, but once the first true leaves form it's a good idea to harvest them and store in the refrigerator.
To harvest, tip the tray about 45-degrees over a cutting board or a large plate and using stainless steel scissors, or a very sharp knife cut the beet microgreens just above the soil surface.
Try not to disturb the soil. If some soil does spill, it's okay, use your hands to fluff the cut microgreens the soil particles will fall to the board or plate where you can wipe it off.
It's always recommended to wash microgreens before you use them (I don't if they are dry and clean) to be sure no bacteria is on the microgreens.
Cut only what you're going to use that day. Replace the growing tray under the light and let them grow so more.
If you can't use all of your beet microgreens before they grow too tall and leggy, cut them and place them in a zip-lock bag with several small slits cut in the bag. Don't wash the microgreens at this point.
You'll want them dry, as they will stay fresher longer. Squeeze the air out of the bag and store the microgreens in the refrigerator crisper.
A Note About Eating Beet Microgreens
It's very common for some of the seed husks to remain on the ends of the microgreen plants.
For most microgreens, this isn't an issue.
However, due to the size of the beet seeds, and the thickness of the husk, don't even think of eating the leftover seed husks on beet microgreens.
Beet seed husks or hulls aren't good eats.
One downfall of beet microgreens is cleaning the husks. We haven't found a good way to remove them other than picking them off by hand.
We've tried to wash them off after harvest, but it isn't foolproof, and the microgreens don't hold up well to the water.
Experiments in Action!
Currently, we are working on growing methods to reduce the number of husks that remain on the microgreens as they grow.
Below are the published beet articles.
That's all there is to growing beet microgreens. If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below the article to ask. I'll get right back to you.
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Beet Microgreen Nutrition & Flavor
Beet microgreens have high levels of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Folate, and the minerals copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
They also contain thiamine, riboflavin, zinc as well and beta carotenes.
Beets and beet microgreens have a lot more benefits than those listed according to this article on beet nutrition.
You can download a chart presenting the vitamins and minerals for the most commonly grown microgreens by clicking the button below.
Beet Microgreen Flavor and How to Use Them
The flavor of beet microgreens is most commonly referred to as earthy. The flavor is also very similar, if you can believe it, to young beets.
It's best to add beet microgreens to salads after you've dressed the salad. They just look better than way, oil based dressings mat them down and they aren't as attractive.
The texture is crisp but juicy, especially if used before the first true leaves form.
They have the flavor to stand up to other ingredients like garlic, onions, and chives.
Bull's Blood Beet microgreens are most commonly use raw in salads, on sandwiches or as garnishes.
Another use we tried the other day was to chop them up quite finely and use them similar to a spread on sharp cheddar cheese and summer sausage on crackers. It was really good!
Interested in Growing Beet Microgreens?
If you'd like to try growing beet microgreens at home use the buttons below to take a look at a Bull's Blood Beet microgreen kit. Or, if you have the supplies, we carry Bull's Blood Beet microgreen seeds.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions about growing beet microgreens or any other microgreen, please leave a comment below or reach out to me using the Ask a Question page.
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