Beetroot is an easy-to-grow vegetable which I started to grow on my vegetable plot about two years ago. I got some free seeds which were for a variety called Boltardy, which is one of the most used and recommended variety for beetroots. As its name indicates this beetroot variety is resistant to bolting which can happen if we get a hot summer. I have also tried a variety called Cylindra but the results were not so good with smaller size beetroots.
The plants are sensitive to cold weather so it is best waiting until the weather gets warmer in April. Alternatively you can try sowing them into modules and provide shelter if needed (with a cloche for example) – my neighbour tried this successfully last year and I intend to do the same this year.
Otherwise you can sow them directly in the ground, just draw a line in the ground with a stick at a depth of 2 cm (0.75in) and drop a seed every 10 cm. My personal experience is that they tend to prefer soil which is not too compact to get the seeds going; but otherwise beetroots are fairly low maintenance.
It’s best to pick the roots when they are young and, as with all the vegetables that I cook from the garden, I try to pick them just before cooking to keep them fresh and benefit from all the nutrients within.
Beetroots are normally harvested in June/July. I am not so keen on pickled beetroot but I enjoy them roasted in the oven as I find that the mineral sweet taste is enhanced during cooking.
Packed with goodness, beetroots are said to help reduce blood pressure, and are also used as a natural die in a wide range of food. So it’s well worth giving it a try.
My top tip: try them roasted, it’s so easy and tastes great with your Sunday roast.