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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 in same bed): Onions, Silverbeet (Swiss Chard), Lettuce, Cabbage, Dwarf Beans, Dill, Peas. Strawberries
  • Avoid growing in same bed: 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

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.
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....
26 Feb 17, Brenda (Australia - arid climate)
Hi John can please tell me what sort of soil and fertilizer should I use for growing Beetroot. Thanks Brenda.
26 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Beetroot likes good, friable soil. it is a heavy feeder but too much nitrogen will cause large tops and small roots. Plenty of well rotted manure or compost added to the soil, say 1-2 buckets per square metre would be great, but use what you can. With root vegetaables consistent watering is essential. This keeps the beets growing and will avoid woodiness in the roots. If you have just grown lettuces or another leaf crop the soil should be ideal as the lef crop will have used up some of the nitrogen. If you do end up withh large tops, eat them. Beetroot and silver beet are botanically the same plant and the leaves are very nutritious. All the best.
22 Feb 17, James (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a 90 cm strip facing north running along boundary fence.I am thinking of planting a row of garlic and a row of beetroot side by side. Is it alright to do so? Please help.
23 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
If you plant your garlic at the back and the soil is in good condition there is no reason why you couldn't plant garlic long the back and 2 or 3 rows of beetroot. Keep the water up and you shouldn't have any problems. When planting garlic DON"T use imported garlic cloves (mostly Chinese) as garlic is susceptible to a disease that can be found in imported garlic. Imported garlic is sometimes labelled with its country of origin but is commonly sold in supermarkets. All the best.
25 Feb 17, James (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks John.
18 Feb 17, Sam (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi just wondering if anyone has ever let their beetroot go to seed & might know whether it's worth trying to pickle them..?? or do they go woody, etc... Just seems a waste to do nothing with them...?
Showing 1 - 10 of 263 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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