Growing better beetroot

 

 Now is a great time to plant beetroot in all areas of Australia.

 Where: beetroot needs a full sun position and can be grown in pots or a garden bed. Just make sure the soil is well draining and is friable. 

How to grow from seed: beetroot is really easy to grow from seeds, because you sow them directly where you want them to grow. Make a very shallow furrow (1-2cm deep) and spread the seeds evenly along it. Back fill the furrow to cover the seeds. Water in well. 

 

Once your seedlings grow to around 5-10cm tall, you’ll need to thin them out, so the seedlings are 10cm apart. This extra space helps the roots develop properly. Don’t waste your thinnings!! You can eat baby beetroot leaves, they make a colourful addition to summer salads. OR if you are really gentle while thinning out you can try transplanting the seedlings you pull out into a whole new row!

 How to grow from seedlings: beetroot can be planted from seedlings bought at your local nursery. Just make sure you really wet the seedlings before transplanting and also water them in well. Plant seedlings 10cm apart,  in rows that are 15-20cm apart. 

Fertilising: beetroot don’t really need much fertilising, as this can cause too much leafy growth at the expense of the tasty beetroot root! Use an organic liquid plant tonic instead,  these lovely beetroot were grown using some diluted GoGo Juice (cool name, great stuff!).

Harvesting: once you can see the tops of the beetroots forming at the base of the leaves – you can harvest, these tiny beetroot are often called “baby beets” and they are really sweet and delicious raw. But if you can wait 10-12 weeks your beetroot will reach its peak picking time. Pick your beetroot BEFORE they form seed heads or else they will be woody & stringy!

Top tip…..make sure your beetroot plants get regular water and mulch around the plants to help keep them from drying out. If the plants dry out the beets can actually crack! 

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About the author

In 2003 I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at The University of Melbourne. And I am experienced at gardening in all conditions, having lived – and gardened – on a small farm, in tiny apartments, in crowded share houses and on your average suburban house block. I now work full time in the horticulture industry and I’m a presenter on The Garden Gurus, channel 9. I would like to show, particularly the younger generations, that sustainable gardening, and growing at least some of the food you eat – is possible no matter where you live!

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