Beetroot, Beta vulgaris, is easy and quick to grow, making it an ideal crop for beginners. And it’s a surprisingly diverse crop – it comes in a range of shapes and colours from dark purple red to pink, yellow and even white.
Find out all you need to know about growing beetroot in our beetroot Grow Guide.
Beetroot grows well in large containers of sifted garden soil or high-quality compost such as John Innes No.2. It’s an attractive crop and perfect for an ornamental kitchen garden. They can be eaten raw, sliced thinly or grated in salads, as well as roasted or pickled. The young leaves make a tasty addition to salads or can be steamed, like spinach.
Here are some unusual beetroot to grow.
‘Chioggia’ is a fantastic globe beetroot. The roots have a pretty orange-pink skin and striped red and white flesh. ‘Chioggia’ roots are sweet and tender, and perfect for using raw in salads, where there pretty flesh can be appreciated. The dark green leaves and red stems can be used in salads.
Orange-pink skinned beetroot ‘Chiogga’
‘Cylindra’ has long, red cylindrical roots, which are perfect for slicing into uniform discs, making this a great choice for pickling. The roots have a rich, dark red colour, sweet flavour and store well.
Elongate red beetroot ‘Cylindra’
Beetroot ‘Touchstone Gold’
‘Touchstone Gold’ is an excellent yellow variety. The plants are fast-growing and vigorous, and the bright yellow roots are tender and sweet – they make the perfect colourful addition to summer salads or a tray of roasted vegetables.
Beetroot ‘Touchstone Gold’ sliced to show the inner deep-yellow rings
Beetroot ‘Albino Vereduna’
Also sold as ‘Verduna’, this is an unusual white beetroot. Bred in Holland, it’s an heirloom variety with very sweet flesh and an excellent flavour. A great option if you want to avoid the staining that can occur with regular beetroot.
White beetroot ‘Albino Vereduna’
Beetroot ‘Blankoma’ is a white-rooted variety, perfect for gourmet gardeners or those looking for something a little different. The roots are round and white with green tops.
White beetroot ‘Blankoma’
Beetroot ‘Golden Detroit’
The attractive round roots of ‘Golden Detroit’ have orange skin and golden yellow flesh, with an unusual sweet taste. It’s resistant to disease and bolting and stores well.
Orange-skinned beetroot ‘Golden Detroit’
British-bred ‘Solo’ is a ‘monogerm’ variety of beetroot, which means it produces only one seedling per seed cluster rather than three, reducing the need to thin out seedlings. Roots are smooth, round and have a high sugar content. Plants show good resistance to bolting and powdery mildew.
Freshly harvested beetroot ‘Solo’
Harvesting golf-ball sized beetroot
Tips for growing beetroot
- Sow beetroot seeds outdoors from mid-April to late June, into a shallow drill, 1cm deep. Space seeds 10cm apart, with 30cm between rows. It does best if the soil is free of large stones, and prefers light to fairly heavy soil.
- For an early beetroot crop, select a variety known for its resistance to bolting, and sow under cloches from the beginning of March.
- It’s worth ‘station sowing’ beetroot to ensure a good crop. This means sowing two seeds at each location and thinning later to one seedling – the thinnings are delicious eaten raw in salads. Label the row, then water along its length.
- Harvest beetroot when they are young – no bigger than a golf ball.