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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
  Double Your Crops
  Getting Children Interested in Growing Vegetables
  Grow Your Own Salad
  Growing Vegetable Plants Becomes More Than Just A Hobby
  Learning About Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening
  List of vegetable crops by difficulty
  Mushroom Growing in Odd Unused Spaces
  Non Hybrid Seeds For Survival Gardening
  Organic Container Gardening - Simple and Easy Ways to Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Pots
  Organic Vegetable Cultivation Table
  Over Wintering Chilli Pepper Plants
  pH preferences of food crops
  Vegetable Crops in alphabetical order by name
  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
  How to grow organic Komatsuna
  How to grow organic Land cress
  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips

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Organic Gardening:

How to grow organic Beetroot

Younger, smaller roots are the sweetest

Beetroot (Beet)

Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris

Family: Chenopodiaceae (Group 1)

Beetroot is called Beet in America. This page relates only to beet grown for roots. Beet grown for leaves is on a separate page.

Home grown beetroot can be eaten all year round — fresh from June to late Autumn, from store until March, then pickled for the final 3 months.

Beetroot is divided into three main varieties, Globe, Round or Ball varieties, Cylindrical, Tankard or Intermediate varieties and Long, long-rooted or Tapered varieties. In addition, apart from the traditional deep red colour, there are also yellow, white and even striped varieties, claimed by many to be superior in flavour, and possessing the advantage (from a mum's point of view) of not staining children's clothes.

Beetroot seed, in most cases, is really a cluster of two or three seeds, all of which may germinate, and the plants will therefore need thinning, unless one of the new 'monogerm' varieties is used. They contain a natural inhibitor, which may prevent germination altogether. To improve the chances of successful germination, soak the seed in tepid water for half an hour before sowing or 'wash' them in flour.

Recommended cultivars

CylindraCylindrical redGood keeper
BoltardyRed GlobeBolt resistant
MonopolyRed Globe
Bolt resistant
Red AceRed GlobeGood for dry areas
Detroit Little BallRed GlobeLate variety,
good for pickling
Burpee's GoldenYellow GlobeLeaves can also be
used as spinach
Albina VeredunaWhite GlobeDoes not store
Bull's BloodRedDecorative leaves
ChioggiaRed/white striped
Cheltenham Green TopLong redGood keeper
Cheltenham MonoLong red
Good keeper

A minimum soil temperature of 44ºF (7ºC) is required for germination. Also, some cultivars are very prone to bolt if sown to early in the year, or in unfavourable conditions.

Bolt-resistant varieties should be used for early sowings. If possible, warm the soil beforehand with cloches, jelly sow or sow indoors in modules and plant out. Beetroot responds well to being multi-sown in modules (3 seeds or 1 cluster per module) and planted out at about 50mm (2") high. Crop covers such as fleece can be used in the early stages to good effect.

Sow in rows about 23cm (9") apart for earlies, 30cm (12") for maincrop and 8cm (3") for pickling. Space plants 10cm (3½") apart for earlies and maincrop, 8cm (2½") for picklers (the ideal size for pickling is about 25mm (2") in diameter). Sow seed 50mm (1") deep.

If you want to grow good quality beetroot, it will need watering if the season is dry: 10 litres/sq metre (2 gals/sq yard) every 2-3 weeks. The soil should not be allowed to dry out. However, over-watering will lead to excessive leaf production.

Harvest as required, lifting the main crop in October. Twist off tops (do not cut) and store undamaged roots in clamps, or boxes of moist sand or peat. They will keep until April.

Pests, diseases and disorders

Cutworm and black bean aphid may sometimes be a problem. Diseases include damping off and leaf spots. Beetroot is susceptible to mineral deficiencies, especially manganese and boron, on alkaline soils. If you suspect this is, or may be, a problem, use a half-strength seaweed solution as a foliar feed every fortnight during the growing season.

If you're interested in healthy food, you may also be interested in our sister site, The Health Site, Your Online Health Channel.

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