3 Easy Steps to Success!
An heirloom variety, the red leaves can be used in salads, while the beetroot has a sweet, earthy, nutty flavour! Can also be used as a homemade food dye :)
Choose a site or pot with loose, moist but well-drained soil, in full sun to partial shade. Beetroot particularly likes deep sandy soil if possible.
Make sure not to plant them where other brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale, kohlrabi) have grown in the last 3-4 years to avoid disease.
Sow 1 seed per cell in modular trays. The seeds are actually small clusters of seed which will produce from 3 to 5 little plants.
Thin out the weaker plants when they germinate and leave only one, or separate before planting. Plant out 3 weeks later.
Seedlings should be planted firmly into the soil, level with the top of the soil the plug plant comes in. Space plants about 10cm apart in rows about 30cm apart for the best yield, or 9 plants per square foot.
In September you can plant them under cover for a harvest of baby beets before the first frost, or outdoors for use as a salad leaf. If the conditions are right and you protect the plants from hard frosts with a deep mulch, you can also be rewarded with full grown beetroot in February/March from a September planting.
Beetroot normally take 7-8 weeks to be ready to harvest after planting out. It's better to harvest too early than too late as they can become woody if left too long. You could gently scrape away some soil from the base of the leaves above where the beetroot is developing to check the diameter of the beetroot. Alternatively, just pull one up to see if it's ready, the rest should be a similar size so you'll know whether to leave the longer or not. Harvest when the size of a tennis ball, or harvest smaller for baby beets.
Or you can leave in the soil but lift or mulch before frosts - make sure to water regularly to avoid the beetroot becoming too woody. When harvesting, loosen the soil around them and pull by hand. Remove all but half a cm of the leaves, and store in cool dark conditions or in moist sandy soil if not eating right away.