Sow beetroot for delicious early crops within a few weeks’ time. Beetroot are among the quickest and easiest of veg to get going in spring, and are just as happy in a roomy container as in the ground.
Varieties include traditional purple ‘Boltardy’ and unusual striped heritage variety ‘Chioggia’, but there are lots more, including golden ones which don’t ‘bleed’: browse the seed racks here at the garden centre in Reading for plenty of inspiration.
The easiest way to grow them is to scatter the corky seeds directly into a shallow drill, then cover with a little more soil and water. They’ll take about 10 days to germinate: if the weather is chilly, pop a cloche over the row to keep them growing well. Once they’re up, thin to about 15cm apart.
Beetroot Gardening Tips
For the very earliest crops, though, sow in modules under cover: a sunny windowsill will do, or you can splash out and use a heated propagator set to about 15°C to encourage really quick germination. When the seedlings are well grown, move them outside and plant about 15cm apart – no need to thin. Once your beetroot reach the size of a golf ball, they’re ready to harvest: enjoy them roasted or pickled for a nutritious, tasty treat.