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 = Sow seed

  • 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 7°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 30 cm 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
  • 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

20 Sep 20, Gordon Slocombe (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I have grown some really good size beetroot over the years but sometimes they grow like carrots why is this
27 Sep 20, Anonymous (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I take a lot of care planting and fertilising beetroot and end up with beetroot from 25-125mm dia. I hill the soil up around them when they are about 150mm high. A possible answer is the soil sinks around the plant leaving a long narrow beet from the leaves to the part in the soil. I generally fertilise with a watering can to have a more even distribution of fertiliser.
21 Jul 20, Andrew (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Subtropical QLD - I germinated beetroot seeds in June and planted out in July. One seedling has flowers on it already. We have had cold weather and I also thought beetroot were biennial. Is this normal for flowers to get on plants so quickly?
22 Jul 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It is a biennial but is treated as an annual. I have grown beetroot for 40 years and have never had any flower. I'm sub- tropical and have beetroot about 10 weeks old in the garden now. I pickle mine. I would say it is just some weird seed. A plant will go to seed early when the soil nutrient is running out and lack of water. I currently have ice berg lettuce and red cabbage where 7 plants each look fine with a nice head and one other plant is a big leafy plant with no head, 2-3 times the size of the others.
24 Jul 20, Andrew (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I found out why my beetroot got flowers: because they aren't beetroot, they are Hon Tsai Tai. Whoops!
27 Jul 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have grown Hon Tsai Tai for the last 3 years. I have 3 plants that are just about finished flowering. Lots of seed pods on them. Love watching the bees in the morning on the flowers.
26 Jun 20, Sue (USA - Zone 8b climate)
My beets have been in the ground for sometime now. I have tried to thin. The plant is now at least 12 inches tall. As I thin some of the smaller plants there is very little to no 'beet'? It is just a very small root the size and shape of a pencil about an inch long. Any suggestions? Thanks
06 Aug 20, Anonymous (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Read how long it takes for beetroot to grow. No use worrying if they are only 5 weeks old if it takes 10 weeks to produce good size beets. Also don't over feed with too much nitrogen.
19 Jun 20, Anthony Peddie (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What fertilizer do you recommend for beetroot seedlings. Can you grow peas at this time of the year.
20 Jun 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Any general garden fertiliser - just not too high in Nitrogen - you want the beet to grow not a huge amount of leaf. Peas check the planting time here for them.
Showing 1 - 10 of 330 comments

re:john mcentee,cooking beetroot..boil till they slide off big fork when poked,drain,peel(skin comes off easy when hot),slice or leave whole,bottle in sterilised jars (with airtight lid,must be airtight) and cover with secret ingredient then seal.....(SECRET INGREDIENT-in 2 litre jug dissolve 1 cup of white sugar with 2 cups of boiling water then fill with combination of half brown vinegar,half cold water,pour this in bottles untill it covers beetroot,may have to shake bottle whilst filling..goodluck)

- mark

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