Source Growing beetroot BBC Gardening
Stop that, don’t let your children see you making an ugly face while reading about how to plant, grow, harvest and eat your garden fresh beets.
Freshly pulled beets (beetroot) are wonderfully tender with a delicious earthy taste. Best of all, they’re really easy to grow from seed.
Beets prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, but will also thrive in raised beds or pots. Sow seeds directly into the soil from mid-spring and for a fall crop plant in early August to September.
* To make a seed bed, remove weeds and dig or till using a rototiller. Removing any particularly large stones if you have rocks in your garden.
Level working over the area to be planted with a rake to leave a fine finish. Spread a general granular fertilizer across the site and rake into the soil.
* Seed can be sown directly into the soil from March to June in most of the U.S.A. Make a 3/4 to 1 inch deep trench with the corner of a rake, hoe (or a cane will do) and drop in your seeds every 3 to 4 inches apart.
Cover, water well. Note If you want a plentiful supply of beets, sow seeds every 14 to days keeping rows 8 inches apart.
If you have a small garden, beets are easy to grow in pots. To grow in pots (ideal for round varieties, not long cylindrical ones), choose containers that are at least 8 inches in diameter and at least 8 inches deep.
Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top of your pot.
Tap the pot gently to settle, and firm with your finger tips aiming to leave a 1 1/2 inch gap between the surface of the compost and the top of your pot. Sow seeds thinly across the surface and cover with 3/4 inch of compost. Water and thin out seedlings when they’re about 3/4 inch tall, leaving a 3 to 4 inch spacing between your plants.
Harvest your beets while small and very tender. Ping Pong ball to Golf ball size. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice. Don’t throw away beet tops (greens), they taste great and can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked and eaten like spinach.
*** Beets are a super food Beets are loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate, and are free of saturated fats and cholesterol. Researchers believe the red pigment in beets – betacyanin – may protect cells against cancer.
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