Growing Beetroot


Beetroot are one of the easiest of vegetables to grow and the only pests you are likely to encounter are slugs and snails, apart from the odd leaf or two becoming discoloured.

 

This is a root vegetable, and as such we shouldn't use fertilizer or manure products to the soil unless they are very well rotted. Of course that applies to all root veg such as carrots and parsnips etc, but they grow underground whereas beetroots grow above ground so the above does not apply.

So, growing beetroot is simple and you can sow them directly into the ground where they are to grow, or you can do what I do and raise them as seedlings in the greenhouse and transfer them to the garden later when they are large enough and hardened off.

There is a stubborn school of thought amongst some gardeners which categorically states that you can?t grow beetroot successfully if you transfer or transplant them from one setting to another as I do. Well that is complete rubbish because I have been growing beetroot like this for many years and have had excellent crops to prove it.

Beetroot seedlings
Beetroot seedlings


If this is your first try at growing beetroot then you need to know that (most of) the seeds are what are called ?cluster seeds?, and they get that name because they can often produce 2 or more seedlings from the same seed.
Now this is fine for people like myself who make a point of transplanting them anyway, but others tend to pick out one seedling and scrap it.

There is a Monogerm strain on the market which produces just one seedling but I tried it this year and it was not too successful. Hopefully the problems with this seed will have been ironed out so we are giving it another try this summer (2015)

Transplanting your seedlings:

Take a slim blade - something like an old butter knife. Slide it down the side of the seedling and push gently inwards and upwards. The seedling will emerge from the compost it is in and the top part will be a purple/red colour. Whatever happens don't damage the root which looks a long white piece of cotton.

Dib a decent sized hole in the soil where your seedling is to go and gently lower it in, leaving about 1 cm or 1/ inch showing. Water well and make sure you have taken precautions against slugs and snails.