beetrootIf you’ve only ever eaten pickled beetroot then growing your own will give your taste buds a treat.

Baby beetroot can be grated raw and used in salads. Beetroot can be boiled, roast, made into chutney, beetroot soup or even cake! Use young beetroot leaves raw in salads and cook mature leaves like spinach. So what are you waiting for?

Sow February under glass or cloches, March-June outdoors and harvest mature beetroot in 15 – 20 weeks, less for baby beets. Beetroot can also be grown in containers.

A good variety to try is Boltardy. If you like the taste but not the colour of beetroot, try Burpees golden which has a pleasing gold colour.

Beetroot seeds are actually fruits that usually contain more than 1 seed. Soaking beetroot seeds overnight in warm water before sowing removes the natural germination inhibitor present in the seed and so improves germination.

Beetroot are fairly trouble free crops, most pests tend to damage the leaves rather than the roots. Try to keep the soil moist, if beetroot dries out and then it rains the roots can split. Using a biological slug control is always a good idea.

Harvest baby beets when a little smaller than a golf ball. When harvesting beetroot try to keep the thin tap root intact and twist off leaves a few cm above the root rather than cutting them, this stops the beetroot bleeding too much.