How to Grow Beetroot

Posted by Jessica Mcnamara on

Welcome to Marshalls Garden, your go-to resource for all things gardening! If you're looking to add a nutritious and versatile vegetable to your garden, the beetroot plant is an excellent choice. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about growing beetroot, from selecting the right variety to harvesting and storage.

Why Grow Beetroot?

Beetroot, also known as beet, is a root vegetable that's packed with essential nutrients like iron, potassium, and vitamin C. It's also incredibly versatile in the kitchen, perfect for salads, roasting, pickling, and juicing. Plus, the beetroot plant's leaves are edible and can be used similarly to spinach.

Choosing the Right Beetroot Variety

There are several varieties of beetroot to choose from, each with its unique flavour and appearance. Popular varieties include:

  • Boltardy: Known for its resistance to bolting, this is a reliable choice for beginners.

  • Chioggia: Recognisable by its striking pink and white rings, it adds a visual appeal to dishes.

  • Golden Beetroot: A milder, sweeter flavour and a vibrant yellow colour make this variety stand out.

When to Plant Beetroot

For the best results, plant beetroot seeds from mid-March to July. Beetroot prefers cooler temperatures, so planting in early spring or late summer is ideal. You can also grow beetroot in succession to ensure a continuous harvest.

Preparing the Soil

The beetroot plant thrives in well-drained, fertile soil. Follow these steps to prepare your soil:

  1. Clear the Area: Remove any weeds and debris from your garden bed.

  2. Loosen the Soil: Use a garden fork or tiller to break up compacted soil to a depth of about 20cm.

  3. Add Organic Matter: Mix in compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.

  4. pH Level: Beetroot prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0-7.0). Test your soil and adjust if necessary.

Planting Beetroot Seeds

Plant beetroot seeds directly into the ground. Here’s how:

  1. Spacing: Sow seeds 2cm deep and 10cm apart in rows spaced 30cm apart.

  2. Watering: Water the soil lightly after planting to ensure the seeds settle.

Thinning: Once seedlings are about 2-3cm tall, thin them out to 10cm apart to give each plant room to grow.

Caring for Your Beetroot Plants

Consistent care will help your beetroot plants thrive:

  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply once a week during dry spells.

  • Weeding: Regularly remove weeds to reduce competition for nutrients and water.

Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Pests and Diseases

Beetroot plants are generally hardy but can be susceptible to a few pests and diseases:

  • Aphids: These tiny insects can be washed off with a strong jet of water or treated with insecticidal soap.

  • Leaf Miners: Prevent these pests by covering your plants with horticultural fleece.

  • Fungal Diseases: Ensure good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of fungal infections.

Harvesting Beetroot

Beetroot is typically ready to harvest 7-10 weeks after planting. For the best flavour, harvest when the roots are 5-8cm in diameter. Here's how to harvest your beetroot:

  1. Loosen the Soil: Use a garden fork to gently loosen the soil around the roots.

  2. Pull the Beetroot: Grasp the base of the plant and pull gently.

Trim the Leaves: Cut off the leaves, leaving about 2cm of stem attached to the root. The leaves can be used in salads or sautéed.

Storing Beetroot

Store beetroot in a cool, dark place. If you've harvested a large batch, they can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. For longer storage, consider pickling or freezing the roots.

Growing beetroot can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, adding both beauty and nutrition to your garden. With the right care and attention, your beetroot plants will thrive, providing you with delicious roots and greens. Happy gardening from all of us at Marshalls Garden!

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