Beetroot is relatively straight forwards to grow and accordingly it is very popular, with a unique flavour and colour to add to salads. It is a biennial which is grown like an annual vegetable. It likes cool damn conditions and is best grown on a shady part of your plot, or like mine in a container.
Its seeds are more like a pod that actually contains 2 to 3 seeds, so they will need the poorer growing plant thinning out relatively early on in the process as soon as the beetroot has 3-4 leaves, nip off the tops of the weaker ones. Typically sow you them in rows around 3 to 4 inches apart and no more than 1 cm deep.
You can aid early germination by soaking the seeds in water for 30 to 40 minutes prior to sowing. For an early crop try sowing outdoors in spring. The leaves of the root will grow to around 5 inches in height with the root swelling below the ground to form the beetroot.
Whilst commonly purple the can be also be red, yellow or cream. It grows best in deep but light fertile soil. It is recommended to use a nitrogen rich feed supplement. in drills 1 cm deep Using bolt resistant varieties. Planting distances depend on varieties and size of beets you require. Thin as soon as plants have 3 or 4 leaves by nipping off the tops of unwanted seedlings.
Sowing with a two week gap in succession should give a continuous supply throughout summer. You can harvest it at any stage of maturity, commonly between 7 and 3 weeks. Avoid frosts at all costs. Once the beetroot is ready harvest by lifting by the leaves then cut off the leaves, and store on damp newspaper or in damp sand. It should then keep for 2 to 3 months.
Find out more about growing vegetables at Richard's grow your own vegetables site http://www.gyoveg.com
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