Growing Tasty Beetroot

A much loved root vegetable and an Australian favourite, beetroots are available in common blood red varieties and also many shapes, colours and forms. The varieties include cylindrical shapes, golden yellow colours and red and white striped. They are great to grow in small spaces and they are well suited to container growing taking up little room.
 
Beetroots prefer a well drained friable soil with added organic matter, such as compost or well rotted cow or horse manure. (Avoid fresh manure/compost as this can produce leafy growth at the expense of root development).  An organic fertiliser such as chicken pellets can be added instead and can also be added during the growing period if necessary if soil fertility is lacking.
 
They do well with at least half a day to a full day of sunshine and a soil ph of 6.0 – 6.5. Avoid planting them in very  hot dry climates in summer. An excellent grower from Autumn through to Spring. Sow beetroot seed direct into a lightly raked garden bed in rows spaced 20 – 25cms apart. Thin them out so that each plant is 10cm apart. Smaller thinned out baby beets are delicious when eaten young. Keep the plants moist but not wet. They will mature in 80 -90 days.
 
Beetroots can be eaten freshly grated in salads, juiced, steamed and roasted. Leafy tops are also edible and very nutritious being high in iron and minerals. Enjoy them by adding to garden salads or steamed like spinach.
 Some types of beetroot are:
 
Chiogga’ - Also named Candy Stripe, attractive red skinned type. When cut it displays red and white rings. It is tasty and sweet to eat and looks great sliced thinly in salads.
 
‘Burpees Golden’ – Gorgeous golden colour flesh with sweet flavour, the green leafy tops can be used in the same way as spinach. Having an outstanding flavour and non-staining, ideal for kids.
 
‘Bulls Blood’ – Produces very attractive dark red leaves that can be used in salads or cooked like spinach. Great flavoured beet with a dark red root zone.
 
‘Cylindra’ – Cylindrical variety with smooth dark red roots up to 20cm long, having a tender sweet flavour.
‘Detroit Red’ – With round dark red roots up to 12cm across this variety has a smooth, tender, sweet flavour.
 
‘Early Wonder Top’ – Produces tall leafy green tops and an attractive red root with coloured zones.
 

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