Grow your own… Beetroot

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It’s worth growing your own beetroot as it has exceptional nutritional value and is very versatile – bake it, juice it or put it in your cakes.

beetroot

Sow three beetroot seeds at 10cm spacings, 2.5cm deep in rows 30cm apart, at fortnightly intervals from mid-April to July for a succession of tender, tasty roots. Beetroot sown from June onwards can be used for storing in winter.

Beetroot will grow in any well-drained garden soil but requires fertile conditions, so before sowing, dig in around a bucketful of well-rotted garden compost or organic matter and rake in a handful of a general purpose fertiliser per square metre.

When the seedlings are about 2.5cm high, thin out to leave one seedling per 10cm station.

Water every 10-14 days in dry spells. If plants are not growing strongly, apply 30g per square metre of high-nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate of ammonia, and water.

Pull up alternate plants once they have reached golf ball size, leaving the others to reach maturity. Harvest these when they reach the size of a cricket ball.

Beetroot can also be grown in containers, but ensure a constant water supply as the risk of the plants drying out is much higher.

Adapted from Royal Horticultural Society advice, www.rhs.org.uk

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