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BeetrootBeetroot

Beetroot are easy to grow and ideal for anyone new to vegetable gardening, great for teaching children how to sown seeds as they seeds are quite large.

The Beetroot

Beetroot is for more than pickling! Try roast beetroot – or even try it in your burger when you’re having a barbecue. For best results, sow beetroot little and often, harvesting the roots when they are young, tender and the size of a golf ball. The leaves can also be eaten. If you grow varieties for winter storage, it is possible to have beetroot almost all year round.

Benefits of the Beetroot

  • Low in calories
  • Rich in potassium
  • Good source of folate
  • Leafy tops are rich in beta carotene, calcium and iron

Drawback

  • Can't think of one, apart from the juice can stain clothing
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  Sowing
  Growing
  Harvesting
  Varieties
  Problems
Sowing Beetroot

Beetroot SeedsBeetroot Seeds

When to sow

  • Indoors in March to May
  • Outdoors May till July

How to sow Beetroot

Beetroot will grow in any well-drained garden soil but require fertile conditions, best ensured by digging in at least a bucketful of well-rotted garden compost or organic matter, and raking in 150g per sq metre of Growmore or other general purpose fertiliser before sowing. Early sowings benefit from protection with horticultural fleece or cloches.

When the seedlings are about 2.5cm (1in) high thin out to leave one seedling per 10cm (4in) station.

Water every 10-14 days in dry spells. If plants are not growing strongly, apply 30g per square metre of high nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate of ammonia, and water in.

Beetroot can also be grown in containers

Growing Beetroot

Beetroot SeedlingsBeetroot Seedlings

1 Soil preparation

  • To make a seed bed, remove weeds and dig over the site with a spade, removing any particularly large stones.
  • Level roughly and then work over the area with a rake to leave a fine finish.
  • If you can, two or three weeks before sowing, spread a general granular fertiliser across the site and rake into the soil.

2 How to sow seed

  • Seed can be sown directly into the soil from April to July.
  • Make a 2cm (0.75in) deep trench with the corner of a rake (or a cane will do) and drop in two seeds every 10cm (4in).
  • Cover, water well and label - when the seedlings are about 2cm (0.75in) high, remove the weakest of each pair to leave one beetroot seedling every 10cm (4in).
  • If you want a plentiful supply of beetroot, sow seeds every month, keeping rows 20cm (8in) apart.

If you have a small garden,  beetroot are easy to grow in pots.

  • To grow in pots (ideal for round varieties, not long cylindrical ones), choose containers that are 20cm (8in) in diameter and at least 20cm (8in) deep.
  • Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top.
  • Tap the pot gently to settle, and firm with your finger tips aiming to leave a 4cm (1.5in) gap between the surface of the compost and the top of the pot.
  • Sow seeds thinly across the surface and cover with 2cm (0.75in) of compost.
  • Water and thin out seedlings when they're about 2cm (0.75in) tall, leaving 12cm (5in) gaps between them.  

3 Aftercare

  • This is really easy. Remove weeds and keep seedlings well watered, especially during dry periods as this will stunt the growth of plants.
Harvesting Beetroot

Beetroot HarvestingBeetroot Harvesting

Tips for Harvesting

  • Pull up alternate plants once they have reached golf ball size to use as a tasty treat in the kitchen, leaving the others to reach maturity.
  • Harvest these when they are the size of a cricket ball.

 

Beetroot Varieties

Beetroot VarietiesBeetroot Varieties

Beetroot Varieties

Great Beetroots to try

Barbabietola di Chioggia Beetroot
  • An old traditional Italian beet with unusual white rings when roots are sliced.

  • Requires less cooking than normal beets and has a lovely mild flavour.

  • Boltardy Beetroot
    • Beetroot Boltardy is the most popular choice for early sowing, good resistance to bolting.

    • Produces medium size globe shaped roots of superb deep red with no rings. Good resistance to bolting.

  • Bulls' Blood Beetroot
    • Although primarily grown as an ornamental plant for its dark red leaves, it is now mildly used in baby leaf salads.

    • It provides almost crimson colour leaves with a sweet taste to add to any salad.

  • Cheltenham Green Top Beetroot
    • Long tapering roots of slightly rough texture, excellent flavour and good for the show bench.
  • Crimson King Beetroot
    • Kings own variety, selected from crops on their Essex farm.
    • Medium to large round roots of deep red with fine flavour and texture with no rings.
    • Ideal for winter storage..
  • Cylindra Beetroot
    • Half long stump rooted variety, perfect for slicing, excellent flavour and very good for winter storage.

    • Slower to maturity than globe varieties.

  • Detroit Globe Beetroot
    • Introduced nearly a century ago and still one of the favourites for main crop sowing.
    • Deep red flesh, marvellous flavour and stores well.
    • Easy to grow and much more tasty than fresh shop bought beetroot.
    • It should be harvested just at the right time when the size of a tennis ball.
  • Detroit White Beetroot
    • A Tender pure white root.
    • An unusual variety with a rounded slightly conical shape.
  • Forono Beetroot
    • An improved variety of half long stump rooted type, selected for its flavour.
    • Produces large roots which store well and are excellent for slicing and pickling.
  • Golden Beet Beetroot
    • Yellow/orange flesh, globe-shaped.
    • Does not bleed when cooked.
    • Good Flavour.
  • Moneta Beetroot
    • A monogerm variety producing single seedlings at each sowing instead of the clusters from normal seed.
    • Medium sized roots which are slow to bolt.
  • Pablo F1 Beetroot
    • This excellent deep red beetroot can be used as a baby beet, or grown on as a main crop.
    • Perfect for any salad with its globe roots and sweet tasting smooth flesh.
  • Wodan F1 Beetroot
    • Delicious medium size roots which rarely become woody.
    • Pick young as baby beet or leave to mature.

 

Problems Growing Beetroot

Beetroot BoltingBeetroot Bolting

Beetroot Bolting Bolting:

  • Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots.
  • This is usually caused by stress – a cold spell or drought.
  • Remedy: Sow bolt-resistant varieties and keep the soil moist.

 

 

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