WHY GROW THEM?
Don’t let the memory of eating that tasteless, shop-bought pickled beetroot put you off growing this wonderful vegetable. Try it roasted, blended (check out Ottolenghi’s incredible puréed beetroot with yoghurt & za’atar recipe) or raw to enjoy its delicious, earthy flavour, as well as benefit from all the vitamins packed within. It’s also one of those crops that can be harvested early as a baby vegetable, or left in the ground to grow to any size between a golf and a tennis ball.
WHEN TO SOW?
Sarah Raven recommends soaking seeds in warm water for half an hour before sowing in the veg patch or container. For a constant supply, sow every three to four weeks from March to July in a sunny spot and good soil. Sow thinly, so crops have a chance to form juicy bulbs, in rows about 30cm apart. You can sow more densely and pick the leaves as a tender, tasty salad crop.
WHEN TO HARVEST?
Crops are ready about 12 weeks after sowing, though pick earlier for a smaller, sweeter crop.
‘Burpees Golden’ for its colour, ‘Chioggia’ to delight diners with its candy stripes, ‘Albinia Vereduna’, which is white so won’t stain hands and ‘Boltardy’, which, as it sounds, is bolt resistant.