6 months to reach maturity
This plant has no fragrance
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Because of its beautiful range of colours and the ability to give off colour readily, the beetroot makes a wonderful colourant. The whole plant is edible, from the leaves to the root, although its bulky taproot is more popular. Widely grown in home gardens throughout the world, but if you have hot summers, grow beets in the cool seasons, or during the winter in mild-climate areas. The beetroot is remarkably easy to grow and can be harvested all-year-round. The roots and sometimes their tops are often used as an addition in salads or cooked to accompany other foods. Sow the seed thinly and space about 3-4ins apart depending on the variety you choose.
Common problems with Beetroot
How to harvest Beetroot
Depending on the variety, beetroot is ready to be harvested when the roots are the size of a golf ball in diameter, generally 90 days after sowing. Harvesting may start in early summer and may end in mid autumn. Pull up alternate plants, leaving the others to reach maturity, so that they can be harvested when they are larger, about 5-7.5 cm.
How to propagate Beetroot
Soak seed in warm water for half an hour before sowing. Direct sow 2.5cm (2") deep, every 3 - 4 weeks from early spring until autumn. This can be either in small clusters of two or three seeds every 10cm (4") or singularly every 5 cm (2"). apart in rows 30 cm (12"). Germination should be between 8 - 18 days When the seedlings are roughly 2.5cm (1") high they can be thinned to one every 10cm (4") - use seedlings in salads. You can grow a crop of early beets which should be planted between February and April. Plant them outside in rows, 10cm apart with the rows 40cm apart. Main crops can be sown from April to July, straight into the ground 10cm apart with the rows 30cm apart at around 2.5cm deep.
Special features of Beetroot
Round varieties can be grown in pots. Choose containers that are at least 20 cm in diameter and equally deep.
Follow on from Potatoes, Include with other root crops, legumes and onions in a three cycle or with only onions and roots in a four year cycle. Do not replant with root crops in the same area, but rotate with green manure, Cabbage family, light feeders or other groups of vegetables.
Can be grown for micro/salad greens in windowsill trays over winter.
Other uses of Beetroot
Culinary, ground cover, vegetable, food.
Colorant or natural dye
Beetroot is used as a source of Betanin, a red food colourant used throughout the food industry. Betanin is not broken down by the body and consuming excessive amounts can temporally colour urine or stools, giving then a red tint.
All bits of the plant is edible!
Popular as organic fertiliser!
Beetroot juice is thought to reduce blood pressure
Some of the many beetroot cultivars available to grow.