The Vegetable Garden

How To Grow Beetroot From Seed

How To Grow Beetroot From Seed
Beetroot is an easy crop to grow and to judge by our sales, one of the nation’s favourite vegetables! The roots are best picked when young and cooked fresh.

For best results you should sow little and often and harvest the roots when young, tender and sweet. Some varieties like Bettollo F1 known as the 'sweet beet', are remarkably sweet tasting. Pickling is another option. If roots are stored this way you can have beetroot all year round. Using the colourful roots of Burpees Golden will create an eye-catching contrast. Beetroot leaves are also great in leafy salads and it's a good way to maximise the crops from your vegetable plot. If a few are picked from each plant they soon grow back and it won't affect the development of the roots. Varieties like Bull's Blood are grown specifically for their tasty leaves.

Sow outdoors from March to July, thinly, and repeat at regular intervals for a succession of harvests. Sow at a depth of 2.5cm/1in, spacing rows 30cm/12in apart.

When the seedlings are about 2.5cm/1in high, thin out as necessary to leave seedlings 10cm/4in apart. Dry soils can lead to woody roots, so make sure the soil is always moist; preserve soil moisture by adding a mulch. Varieties like Wodan F1 will also resist going woody.

Harvest from June onwards. Twist off leaves to reduce the sap bleeding. Keep plants well watered and weed free. 
Pull up alternate roots once they have reached golf ball size, leaving the others to grow on, but no bigger than a cricket ball. Those sown from June onwards can be used for storing and will freeze well.

Young beet plants are sensitive to cold weather and may turn to seed prematurely if seedlings experience a cold spell. Boltardy is bolt-resistant and should be your first choice for early sowing. Sow under cloches or in a frame in early March to get the best start.

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