Beetroot, Beta vulgaris, is easy to grow and perfect for growing in small gardens.
For best results, sow seed little and often, and harvest the roots when they are the size of a golf ball. The leaves can also be eaten.
The roots are usually cylindrical or globe-shaped, and come in a rainbow of colours, from the more typical deep purple-red to pink, yellow and even white.
Enjoy beetroot pickled, roasted, or grated and used in salads. And don’t forget the leaves, which can also be used in the kitchen – use the young leafy tops in salads and larger, older ones as you would spinach.
Here are some of the best beetroot to grow.
Beetroot ‘Boltardy’ is one of the most popular beetroot varieties, bearing deep red, globe-shaped roots with an excellent sweet flavour. As its name suggests, it is resistant to bolting, which means it can be sown earlier than many other varieties. For the earliest crops, sow undercover as soon as the soil warms up at the start of the year. Later crops can be lifted in late autumn and stored in sand for use during winter.
Beetroot ‘Chiogga’ is a pretty variety with orange-pink skins and red and white rings on the flesh, which fade to pink when cooked. It is especially good in salads – slice in thin rings to show of its pretty flesh. The dark green leaves and red stems can also be used in salads.
Beetroot ‘Kestrel’ has smooth, globe-shaped roots with a high sugar content and dark red skin and flesh. It’s perfect for eating as baby beets or left to mature without going ‘woody’. It has good resistance to bolting.
Beetroot ‘Cylindra’ has long, red cylindrical roots, making it ideal for cutting into uniform slices. The roots have a rich, dark red colour, sweet flavour and store well. Its easy slicing makes this a great choice for pickling.
Beetroot ‘Pablo’ is a fantastic beetroot with has smooth-skinned, round roots with a dark red skin. Roots are sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flesh is sweet, making ‘Pablo’ perfect for eating grated and raw in salads. Roots can be used as baby beets but also left to mature, without danger of them becoming ‘woody’. The mature roots store well into winter.
Beetroot ‘Red Ace’
Beetroot ‘Red Ace’ has dark red, round or oval roots with a good flavour. Growth is strong and vigorous, making plants more tolerant of dry, sandy soils than other varieties – it less likely to bolt. ‘Red Ace’ is particularly suitable for exhibiting.
Beetroot ‘Blankoma’ is a white-rooted variety, perfect for gourmet gardeners or those looking for something a little different. Roots are round or conical and earthy in flavour, with strong, tall green tops which may be used like spinach.
Beetroot ‘Globe 2’
Beetroot ‘Globe 2’ is a popular round variety, that is often grown for exhibiting. The roots are crisp and dark in colour, and have a very good flavour.