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Growing Beetroot, also Beets

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
P P P P         P P P P

(Best months for growing Beetroot in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 45°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 7-10 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Onions, Silverbeet (Swiss Chard), Lettuce, Cabbage, Dwarf Beans, Dill, Peas. Strawberries
  • Avoid growing close to: Asparagus, Carrots, Sweetcorn, Spinach
  • Seedlings before thinning
    Seedlings before thinning
  • Young beetroot
    Young beetroot

Soak seeds in water 24 hours before planting so that you can separate the seeds. Thinning is nearly always required as seedlings emerge from a seedball of several seeds. If you don't thin them, you will get a number of rather pathetic plants which don't grow to an edible size. Harvest in 55 - 70 days but will keep in ground for longer.

Keep well-watered as dry beetroot develop a woody and inedible core. Tip from the Italian Gardener ' Make sure the top of the beet's bulb is covered with soil; this keeps the entire bulb the same color and prevents 'corkiness' at the top of the bulb." For tasty and tender beetroot, start harvesting at golfball-size.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Beetroot

Apart from boiling whole for salads, beetroot roast well, cut in wedges.
They also make a tasty salad grated raw with carrot and a little fresh orange juice.

Your comments and tips

18 Mar 17, Iona Jelf (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I can grow good beetroot ( sown on the appropriate moon into soil well replenished with good compost, mulching the young plants with seaweed, and foliar feeding seaweed and fish several times) but it always takes double the time stated on the packet for them to bulb up well. I'm experimenting with sowing times, does anyone have experience with sowing as late as mid March? I was thinking i could microfleece them over winter and maybe the'd get away again in spring and give me some early beetroot....
30 Dec 16, Michael (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there, we have had beetroot growing for about three years now and had very good crops. This year however, we applied compost very heavily & the bulb is not very big & in some cases not at all. What have we done wrong?
13 Jan 17, Jean Beardsall (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I could hazard a guess that your compost contained too much nitrogen. Anything with bulbs or roots doesnt respons well to nitrogen. Maybe add a little lime to bring it to the correct PH. Google says: Beetroot prefer a soil pH of 5.8-7.0 but can tolerate a pH of up to 7.6. Acid soils are likely to create nutrient deficiency problems and should be avoided or limed to raise the pH.
19 Dec 16, Mike Chester (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What is eating my beets? The bulb is gnawed through from the side often leaving the plant top on the soil and the underground part of the beetroot flush with the soil. Rabbits? Can't be possums because they have been exterminated in Miramar, Wellington. Please advise.
24 Dec 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
If it is a rabbit or rats you would see soil disturbance around the plants. It could be grubs such as cutworms in the soil. Mix up a Bt spray such as Yates 'Natures Way' and water it along both sides of your row around the beets. This is a sfe insecticide and only affects chewing pests. Birds could eaat the grubs after with no effect. Trust this helps.
30 Sep 14, NANCY (New Zealand - temperate climate)
what is eating my beetroot bulb? Would this be slugs and snails Nearly all of my tennis ball size beetroot has disappeared !
11 May 14, Rana (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
How is it that some of us can't grow beets? I( and some of my gardening friends) follow all the advice and all I get is luscious leaves and thin dry beet. only about 0.01% grow to something less than a golf ball size and that takes much longest that the 7- 10 weeks mentioned.
21 Jul 15, Heidi (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I couldn't grow it for years, though I kept trying because sometimes it seemed like I was achieving some improvement. Then I went through a period of getting the foodscraps from a shop and feeding them to the chickens, though most ended up being dug under the soil. The soil was teeming with worms all the time. Within a year, I was growing good beetroot. I think the amount of organic matter made the difference. Now I'm not getting the foodscraps anymore, and my beetroot is average. I'd suggest digging your food scraps under the soil and letting it compost there rather than in a pile or bin, and see if that helps. I'd love to hear whether it does.
12 May 14, Gary (Australia - temperate climate)
I have the same problem. I have persevered over the years and have only been able to grow a half decent crop a couple of times. I don't over feed them as I think that would make for more leafy growth. I do mix compost in my garden soil. My daughter has success with her beetroot and she uses virtually the same soil mixture and only lives around the corner so it's not different climates
30 Oct 10, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
try roasting them along with other "usual" vegetables, brush clean - leaves roots and top on (take off most of the stalks)
Showing 1 - 10 of 14 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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