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How to Grow Beetroot
 

This is how I grow beetroot on my allotment. I make no claims that is the best method or that it will produce the largest crops, but it has worked well for me.
Note that many of the photographs show a variety of different crops to illustrate the techniques.

Sowing
 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow                        
Plant Out                        
Harvest                        

Click thumbnails for larger images

 

Step 1

Pass fresh multipurpose compost through a fine riddle to remove any lumps - I use this cheap plastic crate.

 

Step 2

Fill a half-sized seed tray with finely sieved compost and firm it down using a Compost Press.

 

Step 3

Make a series of holes using a Sowing Template. Sow one seed per hole, and pinch the compost closed around the seed.

 

 

Step 4

Gently spray with water so as not to wash the seeds around - I use an old shower cleaner bottle. Add a propagator cover if required.

Step 5

Set the tray in a warm, sunny place - a south-facing windowsill is ideal. The seeds should germinate in 2-3 weeks.

 

   

Potting On

 

Step 1

Sieve more fresh multipurpose compost, and part-fill one pot for each seedling.

Step 2

Carefully remove each seedling from the tray. I have found a couple of plastic forks to be perfect for this job.

 

Step 3

Individual beetroot "seeds" are actually clusters of seeds, and each may produce two or more plants. These can be carefully separated when small, or left as a clump then nipping out all but the strongest seedling before planting out.
 

Step 4

Set the seedling in the pot and fill around the root-ball with more compost, keeping seedling at its original depth.

Step 5

Water

Step 6

Set the pots in a warm, sunny place. A greenhouse or polytunnel should be fine as long as the plants are protected from harsh frosts.

Planting Out

 

Step 1

Set out a straight line where you want the plants using a piece of wood or a string-line.

Step 2

Using a bulb-planter, create a suitable hole for each plant. Add a small amount of fertiliser to the bottom of the hole and mix it into the soil. I plant in groups of 4 to accommodate Pop-bottle Plant Protectors, leaving at least 15cm /6" between groups.

 

Step 3

Remove each plant from its pot, and place it into the hole so the top of the compost is level with the soil. Fill around the plant with soil and firm in.

 

Step 4

Continue the process until you have completed the row.

Step 5

If desired, set Plant Protectors in place to prevent birds, rodents and  wind damage.

Step 6

Water the plants thoroughly to ensure there are no air pockets in the soil.

Maintenance

 

Step 1

Water in dry weather.

Step 2

Keep the area free of weeds to eliminate any competition for water and nutrients.

Step 3

Check regularly for signs of pests and disease, and take appropriate action.

Step 4

Remove any damaged or diseased leaves.

 

Step 5

Remove the pop bottles when the seedlings are well established. 

Step 6

Beetroot can be left in the ground over winter provided the soil is not waterlogged and the plants are protected from hard frosts.

 

 

Harvesting & Storage

 

Step 1

Insert a hand fork under the root and gently lift out the plant.

Step 2

Trim the roots and leaves close to the beet, itself and clean off any remaining soil. The foliage is edible and can be added to salads or soups.

 

Step 3

For long-term storage, choose only beets in good condition and dry them thoroughly. Store the beets in a box between layers of moist sand in a cool, dark place which is free from frosts. This should prevent the beets drying out.

 

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