Beetroot

Beetroot come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours e.g. round, long, red, yellow or white, and will grow in most soil conditions,including, raised beds and containers.

Idealy they prefer a sunny spot where the soil is ,moist, fertile, and has a pH level of 6.5 - 7.5.

Water Beetroot well in dry weather and keep them weed free.

It is a versatile vegetable in so much as it can be eaten raw, boiled pickled or steamed.

Cultivation notes:

Week 17: To get an early crop, sow three seeds in pots or cell trays to grow on undercover.

Germination should take about a week subject to temperature.

Week 19: Prepare beds for sowing by raking in a general fertiliser at a rate of 50gms (2oz) per sq.m.

Week 21: Sow a pair of seeds 75mm (3") apart in rows 300mm (12") apart and 25mm (1") deep.

Beetroot seed are in fact clusters* of seeds hence the reason for sowing them in this manner.

* Unless they are monogerm varieties which are individual seeds.

In this case sow them singly 75mm (3") apart.

Germination should take 7-10 days.

If preferred you can sow a few seeds at monthly intervals to give continuity over a longer period.

Week 26-27: When the seedlings are about 25mm (1") high, remove the weakest of each pair to leave one beetroot seedling every 75mm (3").

After thinning, water along rows to settle soil around remaining seedlings.

Apply Nitrate of soda, or Sulphate of ammonia at a rate of 1oz (30gm) per sq m.

Circa Week 40: If your ground is heavy or liable to deep frost penetration in winter, lift and store beetroots sown before July.

Twist off the tops of beetroots, about 25mm (1”) above the crowns.

Cover bottom of containers with moist sand, add alternate layers of roots and sand until filled.

Store under cover and inspect periodically for signs of rot.

On light well drained soil, beetroot can remain in the ground until November.

Harvesting:

This is subject to the needs of the grower!

Some growers prefer picking them when they are golf ball size and eating them raw in salads.

Others prefer to grow then to the size of a tennis ball to be steam cooked or boiled and eaten as a vegetable, and some, prefer to leave them growing on to store in clamps through the winter.

To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork.

Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding.

Alternateively as some growers do, they cook the leaves and eat/treat them like spinach.






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