Beetroot is a root vegetable that is easy to grow and can be grown in various settings, including pots and garden beds. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing beetroot is a simple and rewarding process. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, nutritious beetroot with the right preparation and care. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to grow beetroot, from preparing the soil to harvesting your crop. We will also share some tips and tricks to help you get the best results.
Choosing the Right Beetroot Variety
Choosing the right beetroot variety is essential for successful growth. Here are some factors to consider:
- Shape and Size: Beetroot comes in different shapes and sizes. Choose a variety that suits your preference and intended use. For example, round varieties are ideal for pickling, while cylindrical ones are great for roasting.
- Colour: Beetroot comes in various colours, including red, yellow, and white. Red varieties are the most common and have a sweet, earthy flavour. Yellow and white varieties are milder in flavour and have a sweeter taste.
- Growing Season: Some beetroot varieties are better suited for specific growing seasons. Choose a variety that is suitable for your region and the time of year you plan to grow them.
Here are some popular beetroot varieties:
|Boltardy||Round||Deep Red||Spring, Summer, Autumn|
|Chioggia||Round||Red and White Striped||Spring, Summer, Autumn|
|Burpee’s Golden||Round||Golden Yellow||Spring, Summer, Autumn|
|Cylindra||Cylindrical||Dark Red||Spring, Summer|
Planting Beetroot Seeds
Beetroot is easy to grow from seed, which is how most people grow it and why you don’t see plug plants for sale.
Sowing Seeds Indoors
If you want to get a head start on your beetroot crop, you can sow the seeds indoors before transplanting them to the garden.
- Fill a module tray with compost and water it well.
- Sow one seed per module, roughly 1-2cm deep.
- Place the tray in a warm, bright spot like a windowsill or greenhouse.
- When the seedlings have grown two true leaves, thin them and transplant them to individual pots.
- Continue to grow the seedlings indoors until they are large enough to transplant to the garden.
Direct Sowing in the Garden
Beetroot can also be sown directly in the garden once the soil has warmed in late spring.
- Prepare the soil by removing any weeds.
- Make shallow drills in the soil about 1cm deep and 30cm apart.
- Sow the beetroot seeds thinly along the drills, spacing them about 5cm apart.
- Cover the seeds with soil and water them gently.
- Thin out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle, leaving the strongest plants about 10cm apart.
Caring for Beetroot Plants
Young beetroot plants require consistent moisture to thrive. Water them regularly, especially during dry spells, to moisten the soil. Once your plants are established, they become fairly drought resistant. Do not overwater; keep the soil moist but not sodden.
Beetroot isn’t too fussy and doesn’t need regular feeding if your soil is in good condition. I apply a compost mulch before planting; apart from that, I leave them be!
Keep your beetroot patch free of weeds to prevent competition for nutrients and moisture. Regularly remove any weeds that appear, taking care not to disturb the beetroot plants. Mulching can also help to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. You want to grow your beetroot like you would onions, completely weed free!
Harvesting and Storing Beetroot
When to Harvest
Beets are typically ready to harvest 50-70 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. The best way to check if your beets are ready for harvest is to clear away some of the mulch or soil around the beet’s crown and check the root’s size. Beets should be around 1-3 inches in diameter when they are ready to harvest.
How to Harvest
When harvesting beets, it’s important to be gentle to avoid damaging the roots. Here are the steps to follow:
- Loosen the soil around the beet with a garden fork or trowel.
- Grasp the beet by the leaves and gently pull it out of the soil.
- If the beet is stubborn, use a twisting motion to loosen it from the soil.
- Trim off the leaves and stems, leaving about an inch of stem attached to the beet. The leaves can also be eaten as a salad leaf!