The beetroot, Beta vulgaris, evolved from the wild seabeet, found along coastlines from Britain to India. Its botanical name 'Beta' comes from the Celtic 'bett' meaning 'red'. Beetroot is really a biennial, but is grown as an annual, both for its bulbous roots and leaves. It does best in well drained, fertile soils. Read more
How to grow Beetroot
Beetroot grows best in well drained, fertile soil that's been enriched with well-rotted garden compost or manure (such as Orgro). Before sowing, rake in a handful of general purpose fertiliser per square metre.
Beetroot seeds are quite large and are easy to handle. Sow outdoors from Mid-March until end of July, thinly at a depth of approx. 2.5cm (1in) in rows that are 30cm (1ft) apart. Cover early sowings with our UV30 Fleece Fleece or protect with cloches. Thin out seedlings when they are approx. 2.5cm (1in) high leaving one every 10cm (4in). Monogerm varieties will not need thinning out as they only produce one seedling per seed – sow these at 10cm intervals.
Keep well-watered, especially in dry periods as this will help to prevent bolting. Plants will not need to be fed but might benefit from a high nitrogen fertiliser (Sulphate of Ammonia) if they are not growing strongly. For baby beets harvest when the bulbs are about the size of a golf ball, otherwise pull up when they reach tennis ball size. Show less