HOW TO GROW BEETROOT FROM SEED

How to grow beetroot from seed

Beetroot is an extremely underrated crop yet very easy to grow. Packed full of health promoting antioxidants, they also have unusually high nitrate levels which clinical trials have shown helps reduce blood pressure.

It is unnecessary to start beetroot seed off early indoors as they germinate easily enough outside in prepared seed beds. However, sowing can be brought forward a few weeks if you want to protect them using a polytunnel or cloche.

Beetroot crop
To prepare a seedbed, remove any weeds, especially perennial weeds, and dig over the site with a spade, removing any particularly large stones. Do not add any fertilizers or manure to the soil at this point as this will cause the roots to develop incorrectly. Beetroot prefer an alkaline soil and so if the soil is acidic you will need to add an appropriate amount of lime to compensate.

Beetroot seeds can be sown from April to July directly into a prepared seed bed sited in the crops final position. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds into 3-4 inch pots, the resulting seedlings can be transplanted into the final growing position at a later date but you will generally get a higher success rate if you can sow directly into the soil.

As a tip, soak the seed for a few hours before you need them, then sow thinly into rows 12 inches apart. Cover the seed with a thin layer of fine topsoil – no more than about an inch deep, then firm gently and keep moist and weed free during the growing period. If you want to grow a continuous crop throughout the year then re-sow every 2-3 weeks. When they are large enough, they can be thinned out as necessary to approximately 1 plant for every 3 inches apart, however if you are growing varieties that produce a cylindrical root you may need to extend this to 1 plant for every 4 or even 5 inches. The beetroot can be harvested as soon as the roots reach about 4 inches in length.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BBC: BEETROOT
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What is a Beetroot
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