Beetroot

In 2018, I grew beetroot from seed and planted them in one of my raised beds.  They didn’t do very much at all, which I put down to the excessively hot weather and lack of regular watering.

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This year (April 2019), I bought strips of vegetables from the garden centre, including mixed beetroot.

I planted them up into cardboard pots, then planted them out a few weeks weeks later.  Some went into a deep plastic trough, some went into a square in the shadier Raised Bed B, and several were planted between the garlic in a strip along the front of both borders.

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I planted all of them at the same time, on 11 May, when it was still relatively cool for the time of year.  At first the leaves appeared to be growing well, now they’re disappearing – not eaten by slugs or snails – but appearing not the thrive.

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I don’t know if this is because all the energy is going into fattening the root.  They’ve had more than enough moisture, which I assume is necessary.

I direct sowed red beetroot seeds in June.  Again, they’re not looking very hopeful.

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This is a combination of mixed beetroot on the left and red beetroot on the right (with what appears to be a couple of squashes though not planted by me!)

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So I pulled one up to see how it was doing!  Definitely NOT golf-ball size.  I’ve re-planted it, but in one of my runner bean pots.

The RHS suggest picking beetroot when they are small – the size of a golf ball.  Another site states that it takes at least 90 days before beetroot will be ready for picking, which takes me to August 10th.

All the websites say that beetroot is easy to grow. 

Beets perform best in loose, well-drained soils in full sun.  The planting site should receive at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.  The most common problem growing beets is not thinning the planting.

Proper spacing is essential for a quality crop.  Thinning is especially important for beets since every beet “seed” is actually a fruit which contains several seeds.  Thin the beet planting when the seedlings are 3 inches tall.  Remove the smaller, weaker seedlings and leave the stronger, more vigorous plants.  After thinning, plants should be spaced 3 to 4 inches apart.

 

I like beetroot, but have never prepared it or cooked it myself.  At this rate, I’ll never

have to.

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