Beetroot is a versatile and easy to grow vegetable. You can use it in a salad, burger, pasta or anything else your imagination would like. The deep, earthy flavour can be a feature of a dish or a nice accompaniment.
We have grown various varieties over the years but have always had great success with growing detroit and cylindra. We have been wanting to grow chiogga and golden globe as we have been told they have a milder flavour and this spring we have finally planted them both.
When to Plant Beetroot
We grow beetroot all year round here, however in the heat of our summer they will need covering with shade cloth and extra water, otherwise we find they bolt and go to seed.
How to Sow Beetroot Seeds
Beetroot can be directly sown or sown into seedling trays, they take 5-10 days to germinate and germinate best when the soil temperature is between 10-30 degrees. We sow our beetroot seeds into seedling trays as we find this works best for us.
We sow beetroot seed all year round except for in the heat of summer which is normally from December to February. You can also buy established seedlings from a nursery, but for value for money it is cheaper to sow your own beetroot seed.
Can Beetroot Seeds be Multi Sown?
When sowing your beetroot seeds you can either plant a single seed or sow between 2-4 seeds per hole or seedling tray cell. We find beetroot grow well multi sown and grow most of ours this way.
How to Prepare Your Garden Bed for Planting Beetroot
We prepare our garden beds for planting beetroot by adding some compost, sheep and cow manure mix, blood and bone, organic slow-release fertiliser with a good layer of mulch. We gently dig this into the top layer of the soil.
How to Plant Your Beetroot Seedlings
Beetroot requires 6-8 hours of sunlight, however in the heat of summer your beetroot will require protection from the harsh summer heat. Seedlings are ready to be transplanted once they have had their first true leaves and are between 5-10cm tall.
We plant our beetroot at the spacing of 10cm for single sown beetroot and multi sown 20cm. We don’t plant beetroot seedlings in the heat of summer as the risk of them bolting is high.
Caring For Beetroot
Beetroot are easy to grow and once their established they just need to be monitored for pest and nutrient deficiencies. We find if you prepare your garden bed, well nutrient deficiencies are not common, however if grown in a aquaponics this can come up from time to time.
Beetroot Disease, Pests and Other Problems
Growing beetroot has been easy for us, but as with all plants they can get diseases, pests and other problems. Below is a list of these and how we go about fixing them.
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails love to come along and eat the roots and leaves. We find the most effective method for dealing with slugs and snails is removing them by hand and disposing of them. If you have a large number of slugs and snails you are struggling to control them, here is how we control them.
We have mainly the cluster caterpillar and army worm attacking our beetroot. We find the most effective method of controlling them is to pick them off by hand. If you have a infestation you can spray with a bacteria spray called bacillus thuringienses. You could also net your plants to protect them from caterpillars.
Last year was the first time we had this issue, pretty much our whole summer crop was destroyed by rats. Since then, we have started learning and controlling the rat population. We have found that you need to have multiple levels of approach. We are using, live traps, snap traps and baits without secondary poisoning. A year later after doing this we have had several beetroot crops untouched.
Whitefly has been a bit of a problem here in the past year. I have never seen it just start only on beetroot, but it can. Our whitefly came from all of our brassicas and transferred onto the beetroot. We found the most effective method was a potassium soap spray and neem oil mix. Here is more about controlling whitefly.
Bolting is when a plant goes to seed early. This is normally because the plant had become stressed at some point, usually caused by a hot spell of weather or lack of water. To prevent bolting watch the weather to make sure there isn’t a heat wave on its way and keep the water up to the plant while they are establishing.
Split roots are normally caused by inconsistent watering or the soil in your garden bed drying. We find in the summer we have a lot of split roots due to the fact that we have only 2 days a week watering and not the time during the week to hand water. We find it doesn’t affect the eating quality of the root.
When to Harvest Beetroot
Beetroot takes between 60-65 days until they are ready for harvest but find that the roots can be quite small still at this stage and wait for them to get to around tennis ball size. For beetroot single sown you can just pull them out of the soil, however when multi sown we cut the base of the root, so we don’t disturb the other beetroot.
What to do With All of Your Beetroot
There are many things you can do with your beetroot, and we always grow way to much to eat fresh so we preserve a lot of ours by blanching or roasting it and then freezing it. We also love is pickled beetroot, beetroot relish and we have also had beetroot chips, beetroot hash, beetroot risotto, beetroot salad, roasted beetroot and there will be many more things to try. Do you have any favourite ways to cook beetroot?
Great Companion Plants for Beetroot
Bad companion Plants for beetroot
Until next time Grow Safe, Grow Organic!