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Beetroot or Beets are a versatile root vegetable, extremely nutritious and easy to grow at home. They are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, including fibre, folate and vitamin C.
Beetroot belongs to the same family as Spinach and Swiss Chard, both the leaves and the root are edible. The leaves can have a bitter taste whereas the root, when harvested early can taste sweet.
Beetroot is best sown as seed. The seeds will have a hard coating, encourage germination by soaking overnight in a glass of water. Beetroot like well-worked, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Enrich the soil with Baileys Soil Improver Plus which contains compost and manure that will encourage strong and healthy growth. If you have very sandy soils, use Baileys Clay & Compost.
If growing in pots or tubs, choose Baileys Veg & Herb Premium Planting mix.
Sow seeds 10-15cm apart and 2cm deep. To ensure tender, juicy beets water regularly, keep moist not wet until the seeds have germinated. Seeds should germinate in 5-10 days. For best yield they'll need at least 4 hours sun a day although they will tolerate partial shade.
Water every couple of days for the first month. Sow additional seeds at 4-week intervals for a continuous harvest.
Feed every 6 weeks through the growing season, use an organic-based fertiliser such as Baileys Soil Matters Garden.
Weed regularly around your beetroots, they don't like to be over crowded or compete for water. Adding a layer of mulch will help keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from growing, use Baileys Moisture Mulch.
About 7 to 10 weeks after planting the beetroot tops will become visible above the soil and they should be ready to harvest.
Baby beets will be juicer and sweeter, so harvest early and while the beet is still small. If they grow any bigger they start to become woody and have less flavour. Pull them firmly by the leaves to lift them out of the ground. The leaves are also edible and make delicious greens.