Growing Beetroot

It’s my Veg of the Month and easily one of my favourite vegetables I see in the salad bowl. The beetroot is a mighty vegetable that boasts a vibrant colour and a delicious taste, plus they are so easy to grow. I’m flabbergasted when I see how many people are putting beetroot in their trolleys at the supermarket, all it takes is a little patience (12-16 weeks) and you will have your very own beetroot that tastes better than what you buy.

Even if you don’t have an allotment, you can do this at home; all you need is a small plot where you can grow some vegetables or simply only beetroot!  

Like I have previously stated in my Veg of the Month post, delicious beetroot can be ready to eat in four easy steps:

1.    The best way I have found to grow beetroot is to sow the seeds about 5cm apart in rows 23cm apart. With early sowings protect them with a cloche or fleece, but with later sowing protect with a wire netting as this will deter birds away.
2.    When the crop is large enough to handle, you can begin to thin them out. However, this is less important if you are growing the beetroot as a salad leaf. If they are growing for the intention for picking leave about 5cm between each, but if they are being grown for salads and cooking leave about 10cm.
3.    It is very important to keep the crops weed free and watered well during dry spells and should be repeated every two weeks.
4.    The beetroot should be ready for harvesting between 12 to 16 weeks, but remember to water the rows the day prior.

Harvesting

Top Tip: Water prior to harvesting, it will help lift the roots with least disturbance to the other plants.
Now that the 12 to 16 weeks (depending on the variety – round rooted varieties take about 12 weeks, whereas long rooted types take the latter) are over you can begin to harvest. Go through the rows, harvesting the bigger roots first to allow more room for the others to develop.

Lift the plants carefully; long rooted types will need a fork underneath it to prevent any bruising or cuts that will make them bleed and lose their beautiful colour once cooked. To remove the leaves from the root simply grasp them firmly above the root and twist again, this will prevent any damage and bleeding.
Have fun growing your beetroot,

Mr McGregor


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