Homegrown Beets…nothing tastes Beta! If you love eating beetroot or the beet leaves then you’ve got to try growing your own!
Homegrown beet is packed with flavour, grown organically in healthy soil and leaves are available for picking as needed.
The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, or Beta vulgaris, grown for its edible leaves and root as an annual from spring through to autumn in most parts of Australia.
Mainly grown as a root crop (under the soil) beetroot grows best in a deep layer of rich soil to allow the strong, healthy root to develop.
Best grown from seed, sown directly into garden soil that has been improved with compost and added nutrients…well-drained soil is a must! Beets are happy in full sun to a part shady location.
For steps to improve soil prior to planting have a read of my article https://soiltosupper.com/5-easy-ways-to-feed-your-garden-and-grow-more-food/
TIP – to increase nutritional and mineral value in crops add a sprinkle of crushed rock minerals to soil when adding compost or well-rotted manure.
Soak seeds overnight to assist with germination (sprouting of seeds) and then sow directly into garden. Read more about sowing seeds successfully here…includes video – https://soiltosupper.com/simple-steps-to-sowing-seeds/
New seedlings will need to be thinned out as each main seed contains many smaller seeds which will sprout a few plants.
Thinning out the seedlings will prevent overcrowding as beetroots grow. Remove a few of the smaller seedlings to give each new plant about 5-10cm space to grow. You can replant some seedlings to a new space at this stage.
Beet can also be grown as microgreens with small leaves being used when cooking. Find more information on Microgreens here – https://soiltosupper.com/microgreens-growing-itty-bitty-little-greens/
As new plants grow they’ll benefit from a fortnightly dose of diluted liquid fertiliser over leaves and soil.
TIP – Apply foliage fertiliser in the late afternoon to prevent burning of leaves in warm weather.
Keep seedlings watered regular, but not soaking wet, to prevent beetroot from going woody…keeps them soft and sweet!
Keep a light layer of mulch around seedlings to help retain moisture and keep out weeds.
After a few weeks you’ll see the beetroot bulb forming. Keep a light layer of soil over bulbs to keep a consistent colour in the beetroot.
As the beet leaves grow you can harvest these as needed. The more leaves you pick the more they will grow!
Beetroot is ready to harvest as ‘baby beets’ from about 8 weeks onwards, or as you notice them growing above ground.
TIP – don’t let them overgrow as they won’t taste as nice as the smaller beetroot.
Good companions for beets are silverbeet (same plant family), lettuce, onions, dill or marjoram.
Also grow nasturtiums or marigolds throughout gardens to deter pests in the garden!
Read more on companion plants here – https://soiltosupper.com/how-to-grow-companion-plants-in-your-garden/
TIP – With beetroot, and other root crops, follow a simple cleaning or sanitising method or wash and peel them prior to use.
For more tips for growing your own fresh food visit www.soiltosupper.com
Growing with you,
Cath Manuel is a Horticultural Consultant specialising in Therapeutic and Kitchen Gardens. Cath is the Founder and Director of Soil to Supper which provides services and programs through the Soil to Supper Community. She is also host of The Wellbeing Garden Podcast Program. Cath has many years’ experience in the horticulture industry and has a great passion for sharing her knowledge to inspire people of all ages and abilities to enjoy gardening activities and grow fresh food. She shares her knowledge through programs, consultations, events and various media publications. Cath holds a Diploma in Horticulture, Certificate in Permaculture Design and Horticultural Therapy.