Beetroot crop sheet

Information sheet

These are our top tips on how to grow beetroot. Beetroot is a great vegetable to grow with children as all parts of it can be eaten.

  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science

Sowing

When: March to July

  1. Create a shallow drill around 2.5cm deep in the bed you want to grow them in using a bamboo cane or trowel. During dry weather it is a good idea to water the drill before sowing the seeds.
  2. Plant 3-4 seeds at 12cm intervals. This is known as 'station' sowing
  3. Cover the seeds with soil and firm with the back of a trowel.
  4. Label the row, make another row 25-30cm away and repeat the process described above.

Growing

  • When the seedlings are around 3-4cm high, carefully remove the weaker plants in each clump. This will leave the one that is strongest to grow well. 
  • Remember to water the seedlings in dry weather and keep the area weed free.
  • Firm up the soil around the stems of the plants as they grow in order to stop the roots drying out and splitting.

Harvesting

When: 9-13 weeks after sowing (for roots)

  • Ideally the root of each plant growing underground should be between golf ball and tennis ball size to be ready for harvest. The size of the growth above ground should give you some idea of the root below ground.
  • Carefully use a garden fork or hand fork away from the roots to loosen the soil. Pull up the beetroots you need and allow those that are left to grow on.

Using

  • The roots are great for pickling.
  • The roots can also be ued as a natural dye.
  • The small leaves are good in salads whereas larger leaves can be cooked in a similar way to chard or spinach.

Varieties to try

  • 'Albina Verduna' - an old Dutch white variety
  • 'Chioggia' - rings of red and white flesh when sliced
  • 'Golden Eye' - a golden yellow variety with great flavour

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