Beetroot 'Tonda di Chioggia' ready to harvest

Fact file: beetroot

Discover fascinating beetroot facts and get advice on growing, harvesting and storing this delicious crop.

Overview

Home-grown beetroot is delicious, whether as baby beet or larger roots. It’s an easy crop to grow, bearing globe-shaped roots that can be used in salads, stews and pickles. Both the roots and the leaves can be eaten – to harvest the leaves simply pick them young and use as a colourful addition to salads, or use the mature leaves as spinach when you harvest the roots.

For further advice, take a look at our start-to-finish guide to growing beetroot.

Overview

Home-grown beetroot is delicious, whether as baby beet or larger roots. It’s an easy crop to grow, bearing globe-shaped roots that can be used in salads, stews and pickles. Both the roots and the leaves can be eaten – to harvest the leaves simply pick them young and use as a colourful addition to salads, or use the mature leaves as spinach when you harvest the roots.

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For further advice, take a look at our start-to-finish guide to growing beetroot.

Both the roots and the leaves can be eaten - to harvest the leaves simply pick them young and use as a colourful addition to salads, or use the mature leaves as spinach when you harvest the roots.

Did you know?

Drinking beetroot juice can boost your stamina, strength and endurance during exercise. Many elite athletes include beetroot juice in their diets for this reason.

Nutrition

Rich in folic acid, fibre, manganese, potassium, iron and antioxidants. Studies indicate nitrates in beetroot can help lower blood pressure.

How to grow

Free-draining and fertile soil in sun is best. Ideally, it will have had manure or compost added the previous year to rot down thoroughly, so the only preparation needed is raking in a general fertiliser before sowing. Sow a short row every couple of weeks for a steady supply of tender roots. The corky seed can be slow to germinate: speed up germination by soaking overnight first. Once in growth, keep watered during dry spells to stop the crop bolting or running to seed. On light soils or drought-prone areas, choose bolt-resistant varieties.

Beetroot seedling
Beetroot seedling

Harvest

Harvest baby beets when large enough to eat. For bigger roots, picking at tennis-ball size is a good guide as older roots develop a woody texture.

Harvesting beetroot
Harvesting beetroot

How to store

Store roots over winter in boxes of sand or coir. First twist off the leaves (don’t cut or the top will ‘bleed) and wear gloves to avoid purple hands.

Our choices

‘Boltardy’ – Old favourite, good resistance to bolting

‘Burpee’s Golden’ – Golden flesh

‘Chioggia’ – Red and white ringed roots

‘Wodan’ – High yields of uniform roots

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Orange-coloured beetroot
Orange-coloured beetroot

Beetroot recipe ideas

Overview

Home-grown beetroot is delicious, whether as baby beet or larger roots. It’s an easy crop to grow, bearing globe-shaped roots that can be used in salads, stews and pickles. Both the roots and the leaves can be eaten – to harvest the leaves simply pick them young and use as a colourful addition to salads, or use the mature leaves as spinach when you harvest the roots.

For further advice, take a look at our start-to-finish guide to growing beetroot.

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