How to Grow Beetroot
In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing beetroot at home.
Quick Guide Information
Common Name: Beetroot
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris
Life Span: Annual
Time Till Harvest: 60-100 days
Light Requirement: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Beetroot is a delicious vegetable that makes a great addition to any garden. They don’t require much space and distinct varieties can be planted almost any time of the year. They’re also extremely hardy and easy to grow, so they make a great crop for gardeners of any experience. Not to mention, beets are delicious and extremely nutritious foods packed with antioxidants!
Beets are native to coastal Europe and have been heavily domesticated. This same species has actually been bred for distinct purposes. For example, Leafy Chard is the same species as Beetroot but bred to produce edible foliage!
Within Beetroot itself there are also many varieties. Different colours, flavours, sizes, and climate preferences. There’s pink, yellow, and even white beets! It can be very exciting to integrate these unique varieties in the garden. When choosing a variety, consider the season you will be planting. If planting in spring, go for a bolt-resistant variety or else the plant will go to flower once the weather gets warm and not produce the best beetroot.
Propagation, Planting, and Maintenance
Beetroot requires rich soil that is loose and well-draining. Compacted soil will not favor the production of a large beetroot and could result in rot. Make sure to prepare the beds with a generous amount of compost before planting.
It is best to plant Beetroot by direct seed into your garden. It is possible to transplant, but since you are cultivating beetroot for its root then this can get sensitive if not done properly. If you decide to start beetroot in pots or seed starters make sure not to let your plants get root bound!
For sowing, just place a seed about 2 cm into the soil spaced 10 cm apart. Be aware that beetroot seeds actually are a fruit with 3-4 seeds within. After they germinate in 2-3 weeks you will have to gently thin each of these little clusters of plants. Choose the most vigorous seedling and remove the rest. The unwanted seedling can be transplanted or consumed directly in a salad.
Once thinned you can apply a thin layer of mulch to help keep the soil moisture up. As the plant grows, you can thicken this layer up to 5 cm to help reduce the prevalence of weeds. Weeding is important and should be done before it gets out of hand. Large plants growing near your beetroot can easily affect the growth of your root.
In about 60-90 days you will be able to start harvesting baby beetroots if you like. Alternatively, you can wait another 60 days and harvest a larger full-sized beetroot. Do not worry about frost as beetroot is actually quite tolerant to below freezing temperatures. Harvesting after the first frost actually results in sweeter fruits!
+ Beetroot does not suffer too much from pests and disease. Occasional aphids may affect the plant. Excessively diseased foliage can be removed.
+ Excessive crowding or overhead watering can result in rotting of leaves. Make sure to keep your beds thinned and clean!
+ Erratic watering can result in cracking and woody growth on the beet root.
+ Excessive water can result in small beetroots or even rot if the soil is waterlogged.