Beetroot – How to Grow

Easy to grow and easy to store, that’s beetroot. It can be slow to germinate but once it’s little green shoots are above the soil it romps away to produce either a globe or cylindrical root. Great for the salad either hot or cold or added to smoothies.

When to sow Beetroot
Sowing begins in early March if you can provide cloche protection, otherwise wait until early April and continue sowing every fortnight for continual harvests until a final sowing in July.

Crop Rotation
Beetroots are a Root and should be grown where Brassicas were grown last year. Next year in the Beetroot location you should grow Peas and Beans.

How to sow Beetroot
Beetroot loves sunshine so pick somewhere out of the shade. A fortnight before sowing, rake in a handful of Growmore into the soil. Sow 2 seeds at 3cm deep, every 10cm with 30cm between each row. They can take up to 14 days before appearing above ground. Use new seed for best results. From sowing the globe varieties will take approximately 12 weeks to harvest and 17 weeks for the long varieties.

Photo: Local Food Initiative

Seasonal Care for Beetroot
Keep the area weed free and well watered especially during hot weather. Thin out the seedlings when they are approximately 1in (3cm) high; removing the smallest of the two seedlings to leave just one. Net the area otherwise birds, especially Sparrows, will eat them.

Watering took much will spit the roots; not watering enough will leave roots tasting woody. It is best to water once a week for 10 minutes rather than shorter bursts several times a week. The once a week method allows the water to go down deep into the ground and this helps the roots to go looking for the water producing a stronger harvest.

Problems effecting Beetroots can be slugs, snails, garden birds, black leg, bolting, forked roots, yellow leaves, spotted leaves, heart rot, leaf miner.

When to harvest Beetroot
Roots can be harvested from late May throughout summer until mid-Autumn in November. Don’t allow the roots to grow too big otherwise they will become woody and unusable in the kitchen. I like to harvest when they are the size of tennis ball. The best way to remove the leaves is by twisting them off. Using a knife will result in the roots ‘bleeding’ and not lasting that long when stored. If the leaves are clean and free from pests you can chop these up and use in smoothies or in salads.

How to store Beetroot
Best to use fresh but towards the end of the season you may like to store some for use throughout Winter. An old draw filled with sand is ideal – place a layer of sand and then the beetroots, covering with another layer of sand. Continue this until the box is full, use as and when required.

Beetroot in the Kitchen
Can be used in Borscht, salads, smoothies.

If you have any hints and tips on how to grow Beetroot, feel free to add them below as a comment. Let’s all learn from each other. Thank you.

Sean James Cameron
Sean James Cameron

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