Two years ago I found my love for beetroot….
We attended a River Cottage gardening course (which was brilliant by the way!) and during lunch, with the garden in sight and a table full of fresh, healthy produce sprawled out in front of me, I was served a glorious plate of tasty red globes mixed with feta cheese and salad leaves. Yum! Even my husband ate them and he is a die hard beetroot hater!
So when I got home and back to the plot, in an attempt to recreate this masterpiece I decided to grow a few and had great success.
I followed Charles Dowding’s way of planting in clumps. He says that they “like being together” and so grow better and I think he has a point. I now also grow my spring onions this way.. but that’s for another day. Here’s how I plant and sow beetroot.
This is what I do
I sowed my first batch of seeds indoors back in early March. I chose Boltardy as this is the only variety you can sow so early in the year without it quickly going to seed.
When it comes to planting out, my aim is to have 4-5 beetroot in each clump so I sowed 4 seeds to each module because sometimes each nobly seed contains more than one and you end up with 6 or 7 seedlings. If this happens to you just thin out each module when they are big enough to handle. It was literally days before the bright red stems pushed through the soil.
Its time to plant out when you can see the roots poking through the bottom of the module tray and when you push it out it holds together.
I use a no dig technique so with my trusty dibber and ruler in hand I made small holes 20cm apart, dropped the module in and watered well. It really is as easy as that!
Extending your harvest
To ensure I have a fresh supply throughout the summer and also for winter storage I’m using different ways to bring them on.
- I’ve planted some outside in a sunny bed
- I’ve planted some outside covered in fleece
- I’ve grown different varieties – Chioggia, Detroit 2 Crimson Globe, Boltardy and a heritage variety called Rouge Crapaudine that looks like a parsnip and favoured by chefs
- I’ve just sowed a second batch and I will do one more sowing in a month or two for harvesting in late autumn
Of course I did all this accompanied by my little helper!