Beetroot is great to have on hand and is so easy to grow, you’ll only wish you’d planted some sooner…
How to plant
Beetroot is best sown as seed, although if transplanted carefully, seedlings will also develop well.
Where to plant
Beetroot will grow best in a loose, fairly sandy soil. They are not fussy however, and will also grow well in clay soils. If your soil is acidic, liberally lace it with lime and organic matter two weeks before planting and dig it in well. Beetroots are adaptable to both sun and shade, but will mature faster in a sunny position.
Best beetroot tip…
The best beetroot will grow in a bed which has been trenched to a depth of 10cm with a sprinkling of Searles Kickalong Vegetable & Herb Organic Plant Food in the bottom and then half-filled with good quality soil. Sow the seeds or position the seedlings 8cm apart on top and backfill with 5cm of soil. Finally, water well. Beetroot can also be grown in containers, following the same planting principles.
Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings take root, keep them well hydrated to ensure a crisp, plump crop; otherwise the flesh can become woody. (Sandy soils can be more susceptible to dryout, so be aware of this.)
If the bed has been properly prepared with a good fertiliser, there should be no need for further feeding. Otherwise, a monthly application of Searles Liquid Potash will work a treat.
Pests & diseases
Few ailments bother beetroot. Brown spots on older leaves indicate a fungal condition but this is a minor problem and the unaffected leaves and roots can still be eaten.
Beetroots are ready to harvest when they are big enough for your liking. Small ones steam quickly and can be eaten on their own. Medium ones can be grated and eaten raw in a salad, boiled and pickled or used in various dishes. Large, end of season beetroots are best when freshly juiced with carrot, celery and apple.
Keep it neat
To prevent beetroot ‘bleeding’ on its way to the kitchen, don’t cut its head off until you’re ready to prepare it for the pot or plate.
Dig your food!
Dietitian and Nutritionist Deb Blakley from Kids Dig Food writes:
“Fresh beetroot is a wonderful addition to many dishes and meals and can be prepared in many ways. Try grating into salads, roasting or as a key ingredient in Choc Beetroot muffins.
My tip: To avoid getting red fingers and hands while preparing beetroot, simply use rubber kitchen gloves or disposable gloves.”RECIPE: Beetroot SaladHow to grow Pumpkin