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Beetroot

Beetroot is a red and juicy vegetable that is best known for being part of the Aussie hamburger. The leaves can also be enjoyed in salads while beetroot can be served raw in dips or cooked and added to salads, sandwiches or made into soup. It is also delicious roasted. Grow them at home and discover they taste so much better fresh from of the garden than from a can.

Due to its red pigment, beetroot, is known for its antioxidant value and is high in fibre and vitamin C, iron, folate and magnesium.

It’s a variation of the plant Beta vuglaris, along with silverbeet. Beetroot is one of the easiest and fastest root crops to grow. It will take approximately 12 weeks from seed to harvest (depending on temperature).

Follow our seven easy steps to successful beetroot harvest including tips along the way.

How to grow vegetables - beetroot

When to plant and position in the garden.

When to plant.

Beetroot can be grown in most parts of Australia. They prefer cool to mild conditions.

  1. In tropical and subtropical areas, plant seeds and seedlings all year round as long it’s not wet.
  2. In temperate regions, plant seeds and seedlings from July to March and in cooler regions, plant from September to February.

Location

  • Beetroot likes a sunny position but can tolerate afternoon or light shade.
  • They also do well in containers and pots.
Tips for spring soil care - understand soil fertility

Get the soil right to harvest a bumper crop of delicious beetroot.

Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.

  • Loosen the soil over before planting, so the tuber has room to expand. If it’s heavy clay, consider planting in raised garden beds full of compost and manure.
  • Add well-rotted manure and compost to the soil and dig it in. For a no-dig option, try Seasol Liquid Compost.
  • The PH of the soil should be around 5.5 to 6.5. If it’s too low (too acidic), add a handful of lime per square metre.
  • To boost the soil, add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster and mix it into the topsoil.
  • Water in well and if possible, let the soil rest for a week or so.
How to grow vegetables - spinach

Step 1 – Sowing seeds.

  • Beetroot seeds are multiple seeds with a hard, corky coating. Soaking seeds overnight in water with added Seasol can speed up germination.
  • Sow your seeds in trench rows 2cms deep and 10-15cm apart in rows about 25cm apart. Cover seeds lightly with soil incorporating organic matter.
  • For pots (20cm deep and wide) scatter the seeds thinly across the potting mix and cover with 2cm of potting mix or compost.
  • In seedling trays, put a couple of seed in each cell and cover with seed raising mix such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting Mix.
  • Water in well with Seasol to help increase seed germination rates.

Note: These are not beetroot seeds, it’s an illustration to show seeds being sown.

How to grow vegetables - spinach

Step 2 – First growth.

  • Seeds will take 10-14 days to germinate depending on the temperature. Watch as the tiny leaves come through the soil.
  • Thin the tiny seedlings clusters to 15cm apart when they are about 5cm high to reduce overcrowding and poor root development.
  • Use scissors or tweezers when thinning plants, so the roots of the other plants are not damaged.
  • Water your tiny plants regularly and apply Seasol weekly, to help stimulate strong root/tuber development and healthy growth.

Note: This is not beetroot plant, it’s just an illustration to show seeds germinating.

Step 3 – Baby beetroot seedlings.

  • Thin the beetroot seedlings out again 2-3 weeks later if needed.
  • Keep your young seedling moisture but not wet. Regular deep watering will stop the beets from going woody.
  • Apply Seasol weekly to stimulate healthy growth and strong root/tuber development.
  • Apply a liquid fertiliser monthly that is low in nitrogen (less growth) and higher in phosphorus and potassium (root/bulb development) such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers.

Step 4 – Beetroot seedlings ready for transplant.

  • Transplant your own seedlings when they are around 10-15cm long. Or transplant seedlings from punnets you have purchased.
  • If planting from own your seedlings, plant to a depth of the seedling plug. If planting from purchased punnets, plant to a depth of the punnet.
  • Push the soil firmly around the roots of the seedling, but don’t push down from the top as this can compact the soil around the root zone, stopping good root development.
  • Water your newly transplanted seedling in with Seasol to get them over transplant shock.
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

Step 5 – Beetroot plant growth.

  • Watch your beetroot grow over the following weeks, you will see the green stem and leaf growth and the tiny tuber as they start to develop.
  • Leaves can be harvest from around six weeks, remove the outer leaves first but leave the inner leaves, so the tuber continues to grow.
  • Remove weeds when they appear, as they compete for space and nutrients. Be careful not to damage beetroot plants.
  • Every 6-8 weeks apply another application of Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to produce a bumper crop.
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

Step 6 – Beetroot bulb growth.

  • As the tuber matures you will see the crown push out of the soil and expand.
  • Mulch with well-rotted manure or compost to a depth of 50mm to prevent the soil drying out and keep the plant moist.
  • Check soil moisture regularly, don’t over water or let the soil dry out. If the soil is too wet, the tuber will rot. If the tuber is too dry, it will spit and crack.
  • Apply a liquid fertiliser that is lower in nitrogen
    (less growth) and higher in phosphorus and potassium (root/tuber development) such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers.
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

Step 7 – Beetroot harvest.

  • Beetroot is generally ready to harvest around 10 to 12 weeks after sowing.
  • Harvest sweet and juicy baby beets when they are 50mm wide or leave until they reach the size of a small orange.
  • Do not let beetroots get too large as they will become woody and lose flavour.
  • To remove, pull them out by hand, use a fork to loosen the roots.
  • Twist the foliage off rather than cutting, as cutting can cause stems to bleed and remove flavour.
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

Things to watch out for…

  • Powdery mildew, a fungal disease, can be a problem for beetroot. Water in the early morning to ensure the leaves dry out before the cool of the night. Remove any damaged leaves as they appear.
  • Caterpillars love beetroot leaves, so if you find these little critters, remove by hand or spray with pest oil.
  • Bolting occurs when the plant flowers and goes to seed before the tuber is formed. This can happen when the soil is dry or lacks organic matter.