What is Beetroot

What is Beetroot


This sweet salad vegetable has a high food value. It needs deep soil and is best suited to a place where a previous non-root crop has been grown. Do not add fresh manure, as this is inclined to cause root forking. If instead of growing vegetables in the kitchen garden, they are grown in the old-fashioned cottager’s way interspersed with flowering plants, the beetroot is a most suitable plant since the round or turnip-shaped beet has generally fine decorative crimson leaves. In addition to the round beet, two other forms are obtainable: a long-rooted and an intermediate type, called tankard or canister-shaped. Good named kinds are: ‘Crimson Globe’, ‘Veitch’s Intermediate’, ‘Cheltenham Green Top’ and ‘Nutting’s Red Globe’. All are forms of Beta vulgaris.

Where to plant Beetroot

The soil must be open, well-worked, but not recently manured. Ammonium sulfate should be given at the rate of 28g (1 oz) per sq m (sq yd), potassium sulfate at the same rate, and 110g (4oz) of calcium superphosphate also to each sq m (sq yd).

Sow the globe-rooted beet in April; the others may follow in May. Make drills 30cm (12in) apart and space seeds 13cm (5in) apart. A point to note is that each so-called ‘seed’ is, in fact, a ‘seed ball’ containing several seeds, and more than one may germinate. It is necessary to single the seedlings to one at each point when they are 2.5cm (1 in) high.

Another important point to remember with this crop is the extreme care required when harvesting roots. On no account should root or top growth be damaged, or the result will likely be a most unpalatable, anemic-looking thing instead of the rich wine-red and appetizing vegetable it should be. The roots should be only shaken free of soil as they are dug in August or September and then stored in a shed, giving some cover in the form of dry soil, peat, or leaves. Top growth may be carefully twisted off to avoid damage. Please do not leave the roots to get hard and woody before digging them. After the beets have been cooked, they may be cut without damaging their appearance, but if they are cut before cooking, their appearance will certainly be spoiled.

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