Although its scientific name is Beta Vulgaris we cannot find a single vulgar thing to say about the beetroot, actually quite the contrary. It is easy to grow and since its preferred soil temperature ranges from 7°C to 25°C, the period when it can be planted is long making it versatile. Being a root vegetable, it prefers to be planted from seed (a depth three-fold its diameter being ideal) and will appreciate being placed in soil that has had stones removed and large clumps of soil broken down. To prepare the seeds for planting allow them to soak for up to 24 hours and remember that beetroots produce a seedball instead of individual seeds.These seedballs contain a small number of individual seeds which means that your rows will need to be thinned-out in the early stages of growth. The advantage to this is that it will be a great opportunity to pluck out some delicious baby beetroots for your next salad, roasting medley or pickling jars. As a general rule, keep a good 10 centimetres between seedlings to allow ample room for growth.
When it comes to sunlight, beetroots are quite versatile and will adapt. Ideally though, a nice spot with at least four hours of full sunshine will make them happy and allow them to reach their full potential faster. During mid-summer when sunrays are at their harshest, they will appreciate some shade to help them get through the day. When it comes to watering, beetroots are a lot like carrots, it is best to keep their watering consistent. Floods and droughts will only result in dry tubers, cracks and splits.
When to harvest is a personal preference with beetroots since the smaller the beetroot, the sweeter the taste. Of course the larger the beetroot, the more produce but this will come at a slight price when it comes to taste. Although the main prize is those lovely tubers, let us not forget those tasty leaves on top. Pick the outer leaves and add them to your salad but remember to leave behind enough leaves to allow the plant to continue its growth cycle.