Beetroot are usually sown directly where they are to be grown between February and July for a succession of crops. The seed are easily placed at their correct spacing as they are relatively large. Infact there are several seed in each of the little balls which fall out of the packet. After they have germinated the weaker ones can be removed, or if smaller beet are preferred they can be left to develop in a clump. Rows 15 cm apart with 10 cm between seeds. They require lots of feeding and water to swell the roots and prevent them from bolting - developing a flowering shoot. Sow some later to provide a succession of crops.
When harvesting only trim off the leaves, leaving the stalks and roots, otherwise they will 'bleed' as they are cooked. They can be left in the soil and picked when needed, but use some form of slug deterrent. If storing, keep in boxes of damp sand.
Beetroot are one of the so-called Superfoods as they contain large amounts of the antioxidant anthocyanin and research has shown that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure. This involves the Nitrate/Nitrite levels which are important in regulating blood flow.
Pests and diseases are not usually a problem, but Slugs and Snails will have a go, especially at the seedling stage.
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