Home grown Beetroot is one of the very few vegetables that can be eaten fresh for most of the year and eaten pickled between March and June while you wait for your next batch to mature. They add colour and flavour to most salads and cold meat dishes. They come in a variety of colours and sizes and come in the following categories:
- Globe - These are the most popular as they are quick-maturing and are excellent for cooking.
- Cylindrical - These are ideal for storage
- Long - These require sandy, free-draining soil and are favoured by exhibitors but not consumers.
Beets like deep sandy soil in a sunny position. Adding peat or well-rotted compost to the soil to help with drainage.
Seedlings should be 1" high before you thin them out do not attempt to replant thinnings as they will not thrive. Rows should be 12" apart and the individual plants 4" apart.
The plants should be weeded regularly but extra special care should be taken not to disturb the roots. Watering at fortnightly intervals prevents the beets from becoming woody or splitting. Seedlings need to be protected from birds. Once the plants have reached golf-ball size remove alternative plants and use the beets for cooking. The remaining plants should be left to reach full maturity.
Pull out beets or lift with a garden fork ensuring that the prongs do not come into contact with the roots. All produce to be used for storage should be lifted by October and any beets that have white rings inside when cut in half should be discarded.
- Sow small rows at regular monthy intervals to ensure a continuous crop
- Leave a 2" crown of stalks when harvesting them as this prevents bleeding
- Harvest crops when the beets are cricket ball size to keep them tender and prevent leathering of the skins
- Beets can be stored until March in stout boxes layered with dry peat.
- Washed and boiled beets smaller than 2" across can be frozen
Last Modified on: 05-12-2018