Episode 020 of the Microgreens Podcast
How to Grow Beet Microgreens
Episode 20 of the Microgreens Podcast is another Answer the Public random question.
In the podcast, we answer how to grow beet microgreens and base the information off the articles we have published previously on Home Microgreens.
We hope you enjoy the Podcast!
Transcript of the Microgreens Podcast Episode 20 How to Grow Beet Microgreens
Welcome to episode 20 of the Microgreens podcast.
Today, we're going to do another random question of the Answer the Public Spreadsheet, and we'll open this up, and the number is... Let me scroll up, and it didn't open up at the top. 532 and question 532 is, how to grow microgreen beets?.
I'm going to highlight this green, although you can't see it, so I know it's been done. That is pretty convenient because I just published an article on Swiss chard and beets, and Swiss chard grow about the same. The seeds look the same, and they grow almost precisely the same. So, let's get into this.
If you do hear some noise in the background, it is Caden. He is revved up. It has been snowy and rainy all day, and we have not got in a long walk, and he is, let's just say, rambunctious. So, if you hear some noise in the background, it's just him. I'm not going to edit it out. This is Home Microgreens; we're at home. So, that's the way it's going to be.
All right. So, let's get on to this, how to grow microgreen beets. I'm going to go to my website and click on the post to give you some references because I think I have two or three articles on growing beets. So, let's get started on how to grow microgreen beets.
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Bull's Blood Beet Seed
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Beet seeds are pretty unique looking. I think they look sort of like crowns, I don't know, like a trapezoid, and at the top looks like a crown; there are little ridges around the outside of them. They're tough, and one of the downfalls with growing beet microgreens is that those seed husks stay on the leaves after they've grown. And if you bite in one of those, man, they are hard, and they could hurt your tooth, but we have a solution to that, but let's go through the articles I have. The first one is called homemicrogreens.com/beet-microgreens. I will put these obviously into show notes, and the title of the blog post is Beet Microgreens – Does Soaking the Seeds Improve Germination?
How to Grow Beet Microgreens - No Need to Soak Seeds
We're just going to cut right to the chase. I soaked some seeds, then planted the soaked seeds and dry seeds into separate trays. The short of it is, no, it did not help whatsoever. You can look at the photos; again, the link would be down below. I presoaked the seeds, and then I put the dry ones on another tray, and the height of the microgreens on days five, seven, and 15 are all the same. That didn't decrease the time to harvest, and presoaking them didn't significantly increase the germination rate or did it loosen the seed husk. In other words, the microgreens in both trays had seed husk on them at harvest time.
The way I planted these was I put them on the surface, and I just put them into the weighted blackout. I didn't bury the seeds or anything, I put them right on top, put the lid on top of the seeds and put a weight on top of them and just let them grow, and the seed husk is on there. So, soaking does not remove the seed husk, it does not improve germination, it does not speed up germination, and it does not speed up growth. So, the short answer is no; you do not need to soak beet seeds.
Again, the second article I did was on Bull's Blood beet. That's mostly what I sold at the time. These are some of the earlier articles I wrote. So, I'm not going to get into how we plant them. I’m going to get first into this article, how much seed we use because this is not the method I use now in this blog post; again, this blog post is homemicrogreens.com/growing-beet-microgreens. So, again, the link will be at the bottom.
How to Grow Beet Microgreens - Amount of Seed
You have to grow beet microgreens, at least from what I've seen; I’ve never seen any beet microgreens grow on any type of grow media besides soil. So, you do need to use soil. So, let's get into how many seeds I planted. So, my trays are about 37 and a half square inches; that’s the planting area, the soil’s surface under the tray. I plant between 5.2 and six grams. So, that's 0.16 grams per square inch of tray. So, if you're growing a 10 by 10, that would be 16 grams of seed. I know that's hard to picture, so really, for my 37 or my 38 square inch tray, you want to plant a pretty heaping tablespoon of beet seeds. The same goes with Swiss chard, but I mean, by heaping is a tablespoon, put the seeds into it. You can mound them up, and if they fall off, the tablespoon is full.
So, again, you want to plan about 0.1 six grams of seed per square inch of tray. You can figure it out from there, it comes out to 16 grams for 10 by 10 or 32 grams for a 10 by 20, and you could probably go a little thicker.
The interesting thing about beet seeds is that they will sometimes germinate more than one plant. They're generally not a great germinator either; you might get an 80 to 85% germination rate, but the ones that do germinate about 10 to 15% of them grow more than one beet. So, again, we will plant beet microgreens on soil, and then we will use 0.1 6 grams per square inch.
Let's talk about my preferred way of growing beet microgreens. Again, you can substitute Swiss chard here for beets because they grow about the same. I did three blog posts because I wanted to see if soaking helped the seeds to loosen up the husk because those husks stay on top of those leaves, and you bite into them. It's not a good taste, and it definitely could break a tooth. So, you want to make sure you get those husk off.
How to Grow Beet Microgreens - Plant on Soil & Bury Them
So, the secret, and that's the name of the next blog post, the Secret of Removing the Seed Husk from Bull's Blood Beet Microgreens, and you can put Swiss chard in there and place the Bull's Blood beets because they're the same. Is to bury them. So, how do we do that? We put soil in the tray, and we want to leave the soil about a quarter of an inch between three-sixteenths and a quarter of an inch below the top of the tray. So, you’re going to do the same thing that you usually do, you use a lid or some sort of surface or the flat palm of your hand and level the soil off, so that's nice and level, just below the lip of the tray.
Then we're going to spread our seeds on. Beet seeds are one of the ones where you can't really use a shaker jar, and they’re too big for the holes in the shaker jar. So, you'd either have to use your hands or use the spoon. Often, I use that 250-milliliter measuring cup I have, and you just sort of sprinkle them on. The nice thing about the beet microgreens seeds is that they're really easy to move around after they're on the tray; they’re quite large. So, again, leave the soil three-sixteenths of an inch or a quarter of an inch below the top of the tray, put your seeds on, spread them around evenly, and now you can wet them.
You didn't need to pre-wet the soil, but now is a good time to wet the soil. So, just use your spray bottle and soak them pretty well. So, use your mister, and give it three or four good squirts that will help settle the seeds in a little bit. That's not so important this time because we're going to be putting soil on top of them, but we do want those seeds to get wet, and we want the soil underneath them to be a little bit moist.
Once we finish that, we will take some more soil and gently spread it across the top. Just sit there across the top, try not to disturb the seeds, and then use your hand and gently pat the soil down level. You haven't got to tamp hard; you just want to level it off, level with the top of the tray.
How to Grow Beet Microgreens - Blackout Period
Then, we want to re-wet that, so use your mister. But, again, you might have to mist the soil surface five or six times to get that whole soil profile wet. So, you use a little more water, to begin with, the beets. One, I think it does help soften the beet seeds, and maybe it does help germination a little bit. Then, we put them right into the regular weighted blackout. So, we leveled off the top of the soil, tapped it down with our hands, we put the lid on top of the tray, and then we put two and a half or five pounds of weight on a smaller tray. Or you can even go up to 10 or 12 pounds on a 10 by 20 tray and put them right into a blackout. Keep them out of the light.
The last blog post I did, the one with the, “Can you remove the seed husk?” Again, all these links will be in the show notes. It has some excellent pictures of how I plant these beet microgreen seeds. The photos show how I level the soil, how I put the seeds on top, how I wet it. Then how I spread the rest of the soil on the top, put the lid on top of that soil, put the weights on, and put it in a blackout.
So, once they're in blackout, it's going to take a little bit longer for these to germinate because, one, they're underneath the soil. So, it will take three to five days before they start to sprout. What you're going to see are just these little; most of the beets have red stems. So, these little red stems poking up through the soil, and you're just going to let them go probably five days. Then, when they're ready to come out, they're going to look like small, tiny worms squirming across the top.
Again, that Bull's Blood beet article on removing the seed husk, I will put a link in the show notes. It has a great picture of how the beet microgreens look when they come out of blackout. They're all kind of packed down, the trays are brilliant purple because Bull's Blood beets are blood-colored, they're red, and they looked all crunched and twisted at this point, but that's okay. They'll straighten out.
After we plant them, we're going to wait three days. Check them; just look at them; you’re probably going to start to see beets germinating. After about day five, they're going to be ready to go underneath the lights. Then, you treat them just like any other microgreen. There is an exception coming up by putting them under the brightest lights that you have and just letting them grow.
How to Grow Bet Microgreens - Water & Lights
So, the day we put them underneath the lights, we want to bottom water. This is very important, don't top water beets at all, if you can get by top watering other microgreens. I just say, “Nah, you shouldn't do that.” But I'm going to tell you; you should not topwater beets or Swiss chard. They're very susceptible to dampening off disease, and you'll have problems if you do. So, you want to bottom water them.
So, again, remember how we water. We're going to lift that tray out of the watering tray, and you're going to remember that weight. That’s the weight of a dry tray. We're going to put in about a quarter of an inch of water, set the planting tray on top of the watering tray, and let it absorb the water up through it. We're going to be careful not to overwater these. The problem most people have with growing beets and Swiss chard is that they overwater them.
So, just let them grow, and we want that tray to be pretty dry, and we don't even care if the surface dries out, but we want the weight of that tray to be pretty light before we water them again. We don't want to water in any significant magnitude, and we don't want to put a half-inch of water in there and let them get soaked. We just want to do a quarter-inch, let them dry out a little bit. Then, if they are light, add a little bit more water, because like I said, they're very susceptible to dampening off disease, and they'll just start to look all wilted like they need water. When they've had too much water and they'll up dying on you. So, just be careful with the watering.
There’s a great picture in the article of some beet microgreens that I killed by overwatering, and if you look at them, you would think that they are dry and need water, but it is just the opposite. They've already been overwatered, and dampening off disease has killed the roots and killed the lower stem, and now the plants are dying. So, again, I just can't emphasize enough, you really need to be careful with watering them.
How to Grow Beet Microgreens - Harvest & Use
Beets and Swiss chard aren't going to grow quite as tall as a lot of the other microgreens. So, when they get about three and a half inches tall, that's going to take you about 14 to 16 days. So, maybe up to seven or 20 days before you can harvest them, and then you just harvest them like any other microgreen, they won't grow back. So, just cut them down as low as you can and enjoy the flavor. They taste a little bit like beets, like canned beets, but really it's more of an earthy flavor. I can't really explain what an earthy flavor tastes like. It’s sort of one of those things that when you taste it, you go, “Yeah, that seems earthy.” If that makes any sense, but I really enjoy them. They're not a microgreen that I want to grow for myself every week, but they're a microgreen that I grow every month or every two months and enjoy them.
They taste excellent on salads, adding a different flavor to salads. So, if you have a lot of lettuces and carrots and celery, peppers in your salad, and maybe some other microgreens, you can taste the beet and Swiss chard microgreens because they just have a different flavor. So, it adds another flavor profile to your food.
So, that's how we grow micro beets, and it's pretty simple. If you want to see the show notes for this episode, go to homemicrogreens.com/020. This is the 20th episode of the microgreens podcast.
A new recent feature I've added to the podcast’s web page is, I have been adding a transcript. Someone transcribes it for me, and I add it to the blog post, so you can read it or listen to it. In addition, the links will be there to all the episodes and everything you need to grow beet microgreens.
I'd like to thank the sponsor of this podcast, homemicrogreens.com, and the Home Microgreens store, where you can buy all the supplies and seeds you need to grow microgreens at home. Besides the large selections of seeds, we also have the home microgreens potty mix, which grows microgreens better than anything that we have tested and all at a very reasonable price.
So, please visit homemicrogreens.com to get all your information on how to grow microgreens and then go to the Home Microgreens store where you can get the seeds and all the supplies you need to grow those microgreens.
So, have a great week. I hope you all have a great Christmas and we'll see you before the new year's. Take care.
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