|Photo by Helen|
Beets are one of the easiest crops to grow and are a versatile vegetable to have in the kitchen. You can pickle them, boil them, roast them or grate them raw into a salad and of course you can eat the greens too!
The variety I like to grow is called Perfect 3 and is a smooth rounded beet (photo above) with a sweet flavour. It tends not to bolt and sits well in the ground.
You can direct sow into the ground or like me, grow first in punnets to transplant later. I prefer the grow in punnets method as there is no need to thin seedlings as you can space them out at planting time.
Beetroots like full sun and given the right conditions should be ready to harvest around 3 months from planting. Before planting you need to do a little work on your soil, fork it over to make sure it's free draining and dig in some of the lovely organic compost you are all making in your gardens, then fork in some general fertiliser like blood and bone for example.
Now you're ready to either direct sow into your ground or transplant those seedlings you've been growing. If you direct sow, then when the seedlings are around 1-2 inches high you'll need to thin out in order to leave room for those lovely fat roots to spread. Keep the plants watered and I usually give mine a fortnightly feed of an organic liquid fertiliser.
You can harvest your beets when they are baby or let them grow on to maturity. Then you can take them into your kitchen to turn into a beetiful delight for your taste buds.
So why not add some beetroot to your crop this season.