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Beetroot Bonanza

It’s delicious, nutritious, and worthy of a spot in your veggie patch!



Beetroot is a versatile veggie that can be enjoyed grated, shredded, boiled or roasted. It can also be pickled, blended into a soup or dip, made into a side dish or be the main event. But if you’re still not quite convinced this veggie deserves a place in your patch, consider this: the leaves can also be eaten! Harvest and cook like any other leafy green or pick young to colour and flavour to a mixed salad.

HOW TO GROW

Beetroot grow anywhere, from pots to garden beds with light, well-drained soil or heavy clay. Choose a spot in full sun or part shade and add compost and a handful of organic fertiliser to the soil. Create rows 1.5cm deep and 30cm apart.

Soak seeds overnight in warm water before sowing. Sow seeds, allowing at least 10cm spacing between each. Each seed is actually a woody capsule made up of two or three seeds which result in roots growing on top of themselves. Once the seedlings are growing, thin out every second one. TIP! Beetroot seed tape evenly spaces out seeds and removes the need for thinning.

Mulch lightly with well- rotted compost. Water regularly as plants are growing. Feed every 3-4 weeks with a seaweed-based fertiliser – ensure it’s not high in nitrogen as this will encourage leafy growth rather than roots.
Beetroot is generally ready to harvest in 12 weeks. The tops will be visible above the soil surface, allowing you to easily tell when they’re ready. Harvest before they get too big, as they end up being tough and woody – terrible to eat! Sow a successive crop every few weeks to enjoy a continuous supply of beets.
 

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

Rusty brown holes and spots on foliage indicate a trace element or nutrient deficiency in the soil. Boron and magnesium are the usual suspects. This can be corrected by checking the pH of the soil and adjusting to neutral, and by adding soluble trace elements.
 

VARITIES

These bulbous roots come red, purple, golden or striped, all delicious!

  • Burpees Golden is a pretty, peach-coloured globe that tastes just like red beetroot but doesn’t stain.

  • Chioggia is an old Italian red and white striped variety.

  • Bull’s Blood is a rich dark colour and the almost-black leaves look terrific in the garden and in a salad.

About this article

Author: WORDS: LINDA ROSS | IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK