This wonderful root veg is super good for you and growing beetroot is very easy. With successional sowing and storing, you can have your own for months and months. I do love it a lot and my favourite recipe is this roasted beetroot, but the possibilities are endless; you can make beetroot soup or even try beetroot sliced on the barbecue and in your burger. Many different varieties are available, but the standard globe shaped deep red ones growing in many gardens and allotments up and down the country.
Sowing the seeds
Dig the soil in the spring, few weeks before sowing as beetroot likes a loose and light soil and plenty of sunshine. Avoid growing beetroot in semi shade. I had the last two rows of my plants in a semi shaded area by accident this year, they were in shade for about the last third of the day, and they have hardly produced.
Sow the beetroot seeds from early April direct outside in about 3 cm deep in finely racked, loose soil. Water well and the seeds will germinate in 14 – 20 days depending on the temperatures. If it gets really cold the germination could get eradicated. If it happens I just carefully prick out the crowded seedlings with a trowel and plant them into the gaps; as at places the beet seedlings still will be crowded. The beetroot seeds are in clusters which means that what looks like one seed it is actually 3 – 5. This means that you will need to thin out the seedlings, or alternatively wait until the biggest root is about 3 cm in diameter so you can use it in the kitchen as a mini veg. Also the young leaves are edible in salads, so don’t waste them. Growing beetroot from seeds is very easy and nobody should buy plug plants in my opinion, as from a packet of seeds you get many plants. You can sow some seeds every month from April to July to have fresh, young roots all season long.
Leave about 30 cm between the rows so weeding will be easier and the plants will have plenty of room to grow.
Growing in containers
If you only have a small space available or you would like to try to grow beets in larger pots you can do so. Choose a pot at least 20 cm deep. You can sow the seeds in the greenhouse this way as early as March. And later on you put the pots outside when the weather warms up. Other than regular watering, the plants in the pots will not need any other care really.
If you want to have a head start you can sow in modules inside, under cover. The germination will be faster this way than in the cold ground early spring. Plant one seed per module and it will give you 3 seedlings. You can leave all the three as sometimes it is a difficult task to remove the side seedlings. And if you have well prepared bed to plant out the beetroot into, all the seedlings will grow fine as they push each other apart, and as mentioned before just pick the biggest one gently when golf ball sized. This way nothing is wasted.
Harvesting and storing
When pulling the plants twist off the leaves rather than cut them, this will prevent bleeding and use a fork to help lifting up the beetroot. And protect the small feeding roots too, which are the little beard like features growing from the big root, especially if you want to store your harvest, they contain some extra moisture which the main bulb can use. Place them in wooden boxes or strong cardboard boxes with sand and keep them in a cool dry place, out of light and out of frost. This way the roots will store 3 -4 months and all your efforts growing beetroot can be enjoyed for a long time.