Winter planting #1: Beetroot

We are about to start our winter planting.

Meg’s already put in some broad beans & the other vegies we’ll be planting are:

  • beetroot
  • english spinach
  • silver beet
  • purple kale

I thought it would be a good idea to find out a bit more about the conditions these vegies like, rather than just throwing them in the soil and crossing our fingers.

What have I learned from my research?

Beetroot

In the Northern hemisphere, beetroot’s grown over summer, but here in temperate Sydney, we can grow it all year around — appparently. I guess we’ll find out.

Our community gardeners are all interested in companion planting, so I was pleased to find out that beetroot likes being planted near silver beet and spinach (win!). It doesn’t like being near climbing beans or tomatoes, but we’re not planting them, so no problem.

One website tells us it doesn’t like a lot of manure; another says, add a sprinkle of blood & bone and a little boron (whatever that is). On the other hand, SBS says plenty of manure is fine, plus B&B&B. All agree that it likes plenty of water, or the roots may split.

The site that recommends boron also suggests fertilising with fish emulsion & kelp. I’m thinking it would make sense, then, to plant out the beetroot in the two beds that I recently buried old fish heads in. One of those beds already has some spinach seedlings in it, so … this is looking like a good plan.

Internet wisdom also has it that’s best to sow beetroot seed straight into the garden beds (after soaking the seeds), rather than sowing seedlings.

I admit I fail on that count, because I was worried that snails would eat the seedlings and wanted to nurture them on my balcony first. We’ll  handle these delicate babies (pictured above) with care and see how they go. I hope they survive and thrive, because I have big plans for our beetroot harvest … and I guess my fellow gardeners might have too.

I love beetroot, especially in a rocket and marinated feta salad, or roasted in foil with garlic, oregano, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I’ve got a beetroot & chocolate cake recipe I’ve been wanting to try, and of course the new leaves are great in a salad.

At the Grow, Cook, Eat  festival a few months ago, I bought some delicious beetroot & chilli chutney. I tracked down the company that made it but they don’t appear to have any in stock right now. No matter, maybe in a couple of months I’ll be making my own.

If you’re looking for more beetroot inspiration, check out www.lovebeetroot.co.uk.

Do you have any wonderful ways with beetroot? If you do, please share them in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon to find out what I learned about the other vegies we’re planting.

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