I love beetroots so growing them was a no-brainer for me in the Organic Kitchen garden. But did you know that Beetroot is full of vitamins and minerals; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Let me tell you why you should grow beetroot and how you can grow them even in the smallest garden.
Why you should grow Beetroots
- Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
- Beetroot fibre has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells.
- Red beetroots have been ranked as one of the 10 most potent antioxidant vegetables and are also one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid, essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.
- Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that drinking juice from beetroot can improve oxygenation to the brain, slowing the progression of dementia in older adults.
- Beets contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which may help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
Basically, Beetroots are a wonder vegetable and in the superfoods along with Blueberries, Kale, Spinach, Lentils and Sweet potato to name a few.
How can you grow Beetroots
How to sow seed
Seed can be sown directly into the soil from March to July. Or start them early in the Greenhouse in February.
- I start mine in Modules using Charles Dowling Method by planting 4 together and letting them grow together. This works for me
- Plant our in March /April at 10cm (4in) intervals, 2.5cm (1in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart
If you have a small garden, beetroot are easy to grow in pots.
- To grow in pots choose containers that are 20cm (8in) in diameter and at least 20cm (8in) deep.
- Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top.
- Tap the pot gently to settle, and firm with your fingertips aiming to leave a 4cm (1.5in) gap between the surface of the compost and the top of the pot.
- Sow seeds thinly across the surface and cover with a small layer of compost.
- Water and thin out seedlings when they’re about 2cm (0.75in) tall, leaving 12cm (5in) gaps between them.
Looking after your Beetroots
- This is really easy. Remove weeds and keep seedlings well watered, especially during dry periods as this will stunt the growth of plants.
- Depending on the variety, beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball – this is usually 90 days after sowing. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork.
- If growing in clumps harvest the biggest first and let the others have more room,
- Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice – don’t throw these away, they have bags of taste and can be cooked and eaten like spinach
Get your FREE Quick grow guide to Beetroots here – just click the image below
Pickling your Beetroot
One of the most common ways of storing beetroot is by pickling them Pickling beetroot is really easy and they will last you a year.
- Clean your beetroot, leaving a little of the stalk attached (to stop the juices running out), and then either boil or bake your beetroot. Boiling will take between 30-40 minutes depending on their size. If baking, wrap in foil either individually or all together and bake at 180ºC for about 1 hour.
- Whilst the beetroot is cooking, prepare the vinegar.
- What you put into the vinegar is up to you. Pick flavours that you enjoy. You can add peppercorns, coriander seeds, whole cloves, bay leaves, fresh ginger, mustard seeds, chilli, whatever you fancy.
- If you want a sweet pickle, then add some sugar. Simmer your vinegar (malt or wine) with the spices and sugar, if using, for about 10 minutes.
- Once the beetroots are cooked, remove their skins and slice or dice however you like them. The thinner the slices, the more vinegary they will get.
- Place in a sterilized jar, cover completely with the hot vinegar mixture and seal immediately.
- Label and date your jars when cool. Leave for a few weeks for the flavours to infuse. The pickle should last a year at least.
What Varieties of Beetroot should you try
F1 Action – This gives a Good crop of high quality, sweet, smooth-skinned roots to harvest at golf ball size. RHS Award of Garden Merit winner. Ready to eat in just 6-12 weeks. Ideal for small spaces.
Boltardy – Smooth-skinned roots of fine colour and resistant to bolting and recommended for early sowing.
Burpees Golden- A superb, yellow-fleshed beetroot, providing great colour in salads or pickles. Leaves can be cooked like spinach.Maturing 12-16 weeks from sowing. No staining, juice doesn’t run when cut.
I hope you try some beetroots this year in your garden or on your patio. If you enjoyed this post you can find more superfoods and how to grow them below.
- Growing Spinach in Winter
- Autumn Planting soft fruits
- Growing Sweet potatoes in cooler climates
- How to grow your own Lentils
To see more of the Snapshot and Snippets garden go here – Growing Organic Vegetables in a Small Garden. Or sign up for the Snapshot and Snippets newsletter and get free Gardening Printables and weekly exclusive recipes and organic living and gardening tips
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