How to grow Beetroot

Beetroot is a versatile crop that is easy to grow, giving you colorful round roots that can be boiled, roasted, and pickled. You can also use the young leaves in salads, while the older, mature leaves can be wilted and used like spinach.

How to Grow Beetroot from Seed

Sow your beetroot seeds outdoors from mid-April to early summer in a shallow drill around 1cm deep. Space the seeds around 8-10cm apart with 30cm between each row. Water the plants regularly and keep the bed weed-free.

You can extend the growing season by sowing seeds under cloche or fleece from the beginning of March. Keep the seedlings well protected until the weather starts to warm up. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds into modules in a greenhouse and transplant them outdoors later on.

How to Grow Beetroot from Plug Plants

You can also buy beetroot plug plants from your local garden center. Before planting these in your garden, you should harden them off. To do this, leave the plants outdoors during the day and bring them inside at night. Doing this for around a week will help them acclimatize to the outdoor temperatures and weather.

When planting out your plug plants, be careful when removing them from their modules to avoid damaging the roots. Plant them in the ground at the same depth as they were growing in the tray, roughly 8-10cm apart and 30cm between each row. Water them thoroughly and don’t let them dry out.

How to Care for Beetroot

Growing and caring for beetroot is easy. Keep the area weed-free and water the plants regularly. Watering on a regular basis will reduce the risk of the roots becoming woody or splitting.

How to Harvest Beetroot

You can generally harvest beetroot in 8 to 10 weeks. To harvest, grab the foliage firmly where it meets the root and pull. Pull them when they are roughly the size of a cricket ball. If you want them to taste slightly sweeter, pull them when they are slightly bigger than a golf ball.

After lifting them, twist off the stems and foliage, and store only the undamaged beetroot. Any damaged plants, use straight away.

How to harvest beetroot

Pests and Diseases

The young seedlings are a target for slugs and snails. You can protect your seedlings by using biological-control nematodes or a barrier of crushed eggshells.

Birds can also pull the seedlings out of the ground, so you should consider using a fleece or net to protect them until they are established.

How to Store Beetroot

You can leave beetroot in the ground and use them when needed. Simply cover them with a thick layer of straw and cardboard. Alternatively, you can store them in a box filled with moist sand and keep them in a cool, dark shed over winter. Only store undamaged beetroot.

Varieties of Beetroot

Some popular varieties of beetroot include:

  • Boltardy: Beetroot Boltardy produces an excellent crop of sweet, tender beetroot, perfect for early sowings due to its bolting resistance
  • Detroit 2 Crimson Globe: A dark-red beauty that has a great taste, high disease resistance, and is exceptionally easy to grow.