Soil and Site for Beetroot
Beetroot's ideal soil is medium to light, although a heavy but well-dug soil will
also be OK. What it definitely does not like is a soil which has
recently been manured - this will cause the roots to be mis-shapen. The
soil should be neutral or slightly alkaline
('pH' 6.5 to 7.5) although it is tolerant of most normal conditions.
Either use a site which was well-prepared for a previous crop (such as peas,
beans, onions or celery) or dig the soil well the previous autumn and
let the winter frost break it up even more.
When digging, remove as many
stones as possible - the roots like to grow without restriction.
Beetroot can also be grown in raised beds with other
to go to our page on raised beds for more information.
Beetroot should be sown when the danger of hard frost has passed,
is about right
In order to avoid glut, plant in small batches up until
If you want beetroot crops three or four weeks earlier, use a small
poly-tunnel or cloche. Simply place the poly-tunnel in position two
weeks before sowing (to warm up the soil), then sow the seed three or
four weeks earlier than normal.
to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche from GardenAction's recommended online supplier.
Before sowing, soak the seeds in water for an hour or so. This will
remove any chemicals present which has so far stopped them
growing. Only soak enough seeds necessary for immediate planting.
- globe type
With a trowel,
scoop out a line in the soil about 2.5cm (1in) deep - where more than
one line is to be planted, space each line about 30cm (1ft) apart. Space
the seeds in the lines 5cm (2in) apart and cover with soil. Water if the
soil is dry.
The seedlings will appear in about 15 days, depending on the weather. Each
seed planted will result in a cluster of three or four seedlings. Remove
the weakest seedlings, leaving only the strongest for each seed sown.
When the seedlings reach 5cm (2in) high, thin them to their final
distance apart. This is 10cm (4in) apart for round or globe varieties
and 15cm (6in) apart for long varieties.
Care of Beetroot
The young seedlings may well attract the unwanted attention of birds. If your area
is troubled, it is best to cover them in netting for a while or whatever
is your best method. Clear plastic plastic bottles with the top and
bottom cut off and placed over the seedlings when they emerge is a good
method if you plant only a few seeds.
Beetroot will definitely appreciate a thorough watering if the conditions become
dry. This will encourage them to grow quickly and the roots will be more
tender and tasty. Luckily enough, little weeding should be required
because the foliage of beetroot is dense enough to keep most weeds at bay.
One tip is to apply a light application of common or rock salt around the
plants (avoid the foliage) when the seedlings are established. Beetroot
does best near the sea and applying salt mimics these conditions.
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