Monday, 7 November 2016

Growing Beetroot.




It has a natural affinity with game; ….I notice that as well as offering beetroot as a side vegetable, it was an integral part of many dishes that include guinea fowl, pheasant, rabbit, hare, pigeon and kangaroo.  - Maggie Beer  from Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest recipes.

In the sub-tropics beetroot (Beta vulgaris) can be planted from April to September (August to April in temperate areas and April to August in the tropics). They are best directly sown into the garden bed rather than transplanted as seedlings because there is less chance for the root to become damaged.  (Though I grew mine on from purchased seedlings.) The distance between plants should be from five to ten centimetres apart.  Row distance is about 20 centimetres apart, and seed depth is  a centimetre or slightly deeper.

As a root crop beetroot does not like to be over fertilised. Beetroot likes loose deep soil that has been amended with compost. I grew my beetroot in my raised keyhole garden bed which has lots of humus with good tilth. 




The beetroot plant is quite attractive. The red and green leaves are edible and are produced on deep red/burgundy stems. The leaves can be added to salads, or prepared in a manner similar to silver-beet. 

It takes between 56 to 70 days from the time of sowing the seed until the beets are ready for harvest. Generally beetroot are ready to harvest when the shoulders of the beets are protruding from the soil. Smaller beets have better flavour and they should be harvested before they become too large and fibrous or soft.

Options for using preparing them after harvest include baking, boiling them with sugar and vinegar, or if they are larger beetroot they can be preserved for later consumption. 


Companion plants are onions, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbages, and Swiss chard.

12 comments:

  1. I've yet to find a variety that I like. Last year I planted some for dying wool and the greens and gave the rest to my neighbor. She said that they were the best she ever ate, so maybe I'm just not beet person. Ha! But I'll still grow them for the greens.

    Hugs
    Jane

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    1. Isn't that the great thing about growing your own though, we can search out varieties that we like. You never know, one day you may find a beet variety you do like. Anyway I bet they are great for dying wool.

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  2. Sherri, I am wondering what mine will look like by the time I get home. I planted Cylindrica Beetroot this year just for a change.

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    1. I checked out that variety of beetroot Chel and it sounds like it is really worth trying. I will keep that in mind during my next growing season.

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  3. I have an amazing beetroot tea cake recipe, and its why I grow beets. :)

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  4. I love beetroot, Sherri! It grew well here in my garden this year and so I used it a lot in cooking. I've been making up a really quick beetroot and carrot salad. (I can't remember where I jotted the recipe down from though.) I love to eat it with some crumbled feta cheese. Heavenly! I also made some chocolate and beetroot cupcakes this year and they were nice too.

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    1. This was the first time ever I had grown beetroot Meg, I will definitely be growing it again. So I will keep your beetroot and carrot salad in mind.

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  5. There is more goodness in the leaves than the root bulb. Harvest the leaves during the whole growing cycle for delicious salads

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    1. Yes we used the leaves in tossed salads. Isn't it great that you can use the leaves while the beet is growing. It just makes it that much more worthwhile to grow.

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  6. We have an abundance of beetroot at present. Have pickled many jars to use over summer, plus we're eating them baked in the oven. I found a beautiful Beetroot Brownie recipe here on someones blog, can't remember who it was now, but thankyou, it's become a staple here now for visitors having a cuppa as it keeps for ages. Thanks Meg Hopeful (above)for reminding me to make the carrot and beetroot salad. The leaves and stems are nutritious juiced, but need to add an apple to improve the flavour.

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    1. I baked most of mine Sally. Pickling beetroot is something that I would very much like to do in the future.

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