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Beetroot is a yummy vegetable that is well known for being part of the Aussie hamburger. The root, stems and leaves can also be enjoyed in salads, dips and juices or served hot in soups or roasted alongside meat or fish. Grow them at home and discover they taste so much better fresh from the garden than from a can.

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

It’s a variation of the plant Beta Vulgaris, along with silver beet. One of the top ten home grown vegetables, 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
Health soil, health plants

When to plant and location.

When to plant.

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

  1. In warm 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.

  • They like a sunny position but will tolerate some shade, working well underneath the dappled light of a tree.
  • They also do well in containers and pots.

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

Soil.

Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.

  • Turn the soil over before planting, so the bulbous root 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 like Seasol Super 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, 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
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

Step 1 – Sowing seeds.

  • Beetroot seeds have a corky coating so consider soaking seeds overnight in a mixture of Seasol in water, as this helps to soften the seed and improves germination rates.
  • 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 seeds in each cell and cover with 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.

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. Each seed produces multiple seedlings.
  • Thin the tiny seedlings to 15cm apart when they are about 3-5cm high to reduce overcrowding and poor root development.
  • Use scissors or tweezers when thinning plants, so other plants roots aren’t damaged.
  • Water your tiny plants regularly and apply Seasol weekly, to help stimulate strong root development and healthy growth.

Step 3 – Baby beetroot seedlings.

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

Step 4 – Beetroot seedlings ready for transplant.

  • Transplant your own seedlings when they are around 3-5cm high and store-bought punnets as soon as possible after purchase.
  • If planting from your seedlings, plant to a depth of the seedling plug. If planting from purchased punnets, plant to the depth of the punnet.
  • Firm the soil around the neck of the seedlings, but don’t compact the soil around the root zone, as this can stop good root development.
  • Water your newly transplanted seedlings in with Seasol to get them over transplant shock.

Step 5 – Beetroot plant growth.

  • Watch your beetroot grow over the following weeks, you will see the green stem and leaf growth and the base start to develop.
  • Leaves can be harvest from around six weeks. Remove the outer leaves first but leave the inner leaves, so the bulb continues to grow. Avoid excessive leaf harvest if you want the base to swell.
  • 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.

Step 6 – Beetroot bulb growth.

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

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 may 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.

Things to watch out for…

  • Powdery mildew This 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 These chewing pests love beetroot leaves, so if you find these little critters, remove by hand or spray with EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray.
  • Bolting This occurs when plants go to seed prematurely and can happen when the soil is dry or lacks organic matter
How to grow vegetables - beetroot
How to grow vegetables - beetroot

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