BEETROOT: grow your own



Like the cheerful spheres I hang on my Christmas Tree, these gorgeous globes hide beneath their luscious tops (delicious delights, seldom discovered), storing health to nourish our bodies, until they harvested out from beneath the blanket of soil. Paint your garden red and discover with me how to grow your own? 

Sammy tip ‘MAKE IT SNAPPY’ by Dogtor Sammy

PARTS YOU CAN EAT: Swollen roots, young leaves
SOWING SEASON: Spring to autumn – see sowing chart
LIGHT: Full sun to partial shade
WATER: Moderate
SOIL pH: pH 6.0-7.0
HOW MANY: 25 plants every 4 people
PLANT AGAIN: Every 4 – 5 weeks in growing season
SEED SPACING: Seeds 5 – 10cm apart / Rows 20 – 30cm apart
GERMINATION: 8 – 18 Days
HARVEST: 8 – 10 weeks after sowing
STORE: Refrigerate or pickle
COMPANION PLANTS: Lettuce, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, cabbage, parsnips
HEIRLOOM SEED: Candy Cane, Cylindria, Golden Detroit

‘SOW SIMPLE’ by VanessaVanessa's version


Beetroot are very adaptable and I grow mine almost throughout the year but September to March seem to be particularly good sowing months. I tried them in container gardening and they work!

soil preparation1 – SOIL RECIPE: 

Beetroot grows best in rich, loose, friable soil which has good drainage, helping the tap root grow plump & strong, not compacted or lumpy soil as the roots will be stumpy & misshapen. I like to add bone meal & aged compost before sowing, to encourage fast root growth – which keeps them sweet & tender.


planting seeds2 – HOW TO PLANT:

Beetroot seed looks like a clump & is actually a cluster of 3 – 5 true seeds.  I sow mine directly, 5 cm apart, in shallow farrows of about 2.5cm (which I make with my dibber) & cover with soil.  I thin out mine by removing every other seedling to be 7 – 10cm apart as the roots begin to form – this extends the harvest period.

*TIP: soak seeds overnight to speed up germination period which is 8-18 days.                                                                                         

Watering Beetroot


Beetroot must be kept moist (but not wet = rot) as a sudden lack of water can interrupt growth and make them stringy and tough.  I mulch the soil with wood chips or grass cuttings as this stops the soil from drying out.  Remember: don’t add too much nitrogen as this leads to excess leaf production & smaller roots.


beetroot harvesting


I harvest my beetroot when the roots are between 5 – 7cm long; after this they begin to loose flavor.  Always twist off leaves about 5cm above the root to stop the leaves depleting the nutrients. I plant 2 x 1.5m rows, every 4-5 weeks in the growing season, to ensure a constant harvest. Sow to harvest = 8-10 weeks.



I came across some beautifully different beetroot seed in my travels like the cylindrical shaped beetroot aptly named “Cylindra” or the STAIN FREE candy-striped “Chioggia” , or the golden orange “Golden Detroit“. I find that beetroot does well as a follow-on crop, especially after heavy feeders like tomatoes.

GOOD COMPANIONS: Lettuce, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, parsnips and garlic (improves flavour and growth)

BAD COMPANIONS: Runner beans, mustard.

beetroot harvestEXTRA TIPS:

I get rid of pests like Cutworms & Leaf Spot with organic  Bioneem and Copper Soap.  Beetroot are a soil and compost improver as they accumulate minerals, especially magnesium so I throw the leaves removed from the harvested roots back on top of the soil as leaf mulch. I also eat my young leaves in salad or stir-fry.

FACT:  Beetroot is an excellent source of vitamin A and are high in fiber and anti-oxidants.  They are among the sweetest vegetables and contain even more sugar that carrots or sweetcorn!

Delightful goodies to grow your own..

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9 Responses to “Grow BEAUTIFUL BEETROOT”

  1. Love your site Vanessa, well done!

  2. Glad you enjoyed your visit here. Come back often because I love it when you pop over 😉

  3. Hi Vanessa, I have enjoyed reading your website, I planted my beet root seeds on 12th September, it is the rainy season where I am right now but I see no sign of the beet root seedlings. I was trying to google the problem when I came across your website.

    • Hi Bernadette,
      Thank you for the compliment – mwah 🙂 Your seeds should pop out any day now so don’t give up hope. If it is not warm enough then seeds seem to take longer to peep their little heads out. Another possible problem I have experienced myself is I buried my seeds too deep in the soil. Make very shallow holes – no deeper than 1 or 2 cm and they should be coming up in no time. Beetroot is very forgiving and a easy veggie to grow and the taste when harvested fresh is unsurpassed. When they peep through won’t you pop over to my FB page and post a pic for us all to see – I love the feeling that we all growing ‘delicious’ together.

  4. Hi Vanessa
    Where can I find your beautiful ‘slabs’ in Pretoria?

  5. Hi Vanessa

    Thank you for the good advice. I have a question though.I planted beetroot seeds,they have all germinated and standing about 3cm but I have popped more than one seed in a hole when I planted it and now there are 5 -6 little plants sitting together.
    Can I thin them out by removing them and replant them individually .I am scared that I may cause damage to the root system or do I just snip the smaller ones away.

    • Hi Mario,

      No – you can leave them all to grow happily together. They will make room for themselves. Remember to harvest them before they get bigger than 5cm in diameter for the best taste! Keep growing beautiful food.

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