Beetroot is full of nutrition, and a good crop to grow for novices. It’s tasty in salads, roasted in an oven and it makes a great pickle. You can even eat the leaves.
Beetroot will grow in most types of garden soil, as long as it is free draining.
Beetroot seeds can be sown from April, directly outside into a prepared seed bed, as long as there is no risk of frost. You can keep on sowing beetroot seeds up until July, so you can enjoy a continuous crop.
To sow beetroot seeds outside, first prepare the soil by digging in some good garden compost and raking to a fine tilth, or texture. Make a 1 inch trench in the soil, and gently put the seeds along it, spacing them approximately 2 inches apart.
Cover with soil and water. If you are planting more than one row, space them approximately 8 inches apart to allow room for them to mature, and room for you to walk between and harvest.
Often, you get two or more seedlings come from one beetroot seed. Once the seedlings begin to grow, they will need thinning out to allow the development of a good root.
Growing Beetroot in Containers
Beetroot grows well in containers. Just make sure there is good drainage by adding some pieces of broken pot or similar material to the bottom of the container. Container grown beetroot will need a bit of extra watering than those grown in garden soil.
Caring for Beetroot Plants
Beetroot are a trouble free veg to grow. Just water them if conditions are dry and keep the soil around the plants free of weeds.
Be aware of other creatures such as birds, mice and voles. They love to dig up and nibble on new seedlings.
Some varieties of beetroot are more likely to bolt or go to seed, rather than developing the root, however there are many ‘bolt resistant’ varieties available to grow.
Try Boltardy, Rudibus or Kestrel for a tasty, bolt resistant beetroot. These are available from Thompson & Morgan.
How to Harvest Beetroot
On average, it takes three months from sowing beetroot seed to harvest. You can harvest the smaller beetroot when they are a worthwhile size to eat, about 2 inches in diameter. This makes room for the rest to grow to a larger size.
Pull the beetroot gently from the base of the leaf stems to lift it out of the soil.
Beetroot stores well in a cool place, and it is also good to freeze once cooked.
See what other food you can grow in your garden! A-Z Growing Guide.