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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

23 Apr 17, Gary (Australia - temperate climate)
can beetroot grow in wicking beds? What other vegetables would be ok to grow? This is a new venture as we will not be home for one to two weeks at a time and would like to work in the garden when we get home.
23 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The principle behind a wicking bed is that the water is drawn up by 'wicking' (like a candle or kerosene lamp). Any vegetable should grow in this system except maybe long carrots or parsnips that need deeper soil or growing medium. The wicking is only effective up to a certain depth. Try it and let us know how you go.
20 Apr 17, Beverly (Australia - temperate climate)
When is the best time in Melbourne to transplant beetroot seedlings (which were bought recently from a nursery)? Can the plants be transplanted in autumn?
21 Apr 17, Ken (Australia - temperate climate)
You can plant beetroot seedlings now. try seeds next time as they are easy to sow and grow well without transplanting disturbance.
16 Apr 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I read people's comments about manures being rich in N. Manures only have about 1-4% N. You would have to apply a lot of manure to have a high % N. Rather expensive if buying the manure. I apply a fert with about 15% N. The secret is how much to apply. My beetroot plants are quite leafy and produce good sized beets - from 1" to 5". Maybe people need to look more at the right time of the year to plant. There is a good planting guide on this web site. When people say they had a failure with a crop they should state what time of the year they planted.
09 Apr 17, Stuart (Australia - temperate climate)
Beetroot and Turnip have plenty of green top but bottom all like string??
10 Apr 17, Ken (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sounds a bit like too much nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen, from fresh manure, will give big tops and is ideal for lettuces and other leaf crops. Roots will be spindly as you mention. If this is the case you could use the small roots in a soup or salad and replant the spot with a leaf crop. plant turnips and beets after when some of the nitrogen has been used from the soil.
19 Mar 17, Michael Tierney (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My neighbours and I are having trouble growing beetroot with the same results. We both have tried seedlings and seed but same result. The beetroot grows very nice and bushy but the bulb does not want to grow to more than a large marble. Could you give us a tip to what we are doing wrong.
20 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Sounds a bit like an oversupply of Nitrogen as this will result in large tops and small roots. Beetroot is probably best planted following a fruit crop such as beans, tomatoes or zucchinis. Ideally they would have followed a leaf crop such as cabbage, lettuce or silver beet. This succession reduces the amount of nitrogen in the soil and allows the roots to grow bigger with less top. As a consolation beetroot and silver beet are botanically the same plant so go ahead and eat the leaves! It is best to manure or compost your soil then follow with a leaf crop followed by a fruit crop then a root crop.
22 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
I fallow my ground during the summer. Add residue of plants and grass clippings to the soil during the summer. Turn it over 3 times (a month apart) add a bit lime and fertilizer and plant up in March (now). You need good rich soil through the top few inches as beetroot don't have long roots. I don't add anymore fertilizer while growing. Produce beet from golf ball to small rock melon size. I'm working on it but I think the important thing is to have an evenness of rich soil so that beet grow the same roughly. As stated too much nitrogen - all leaf and little beet.
Showing 1 - 10 of 270 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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