As Australian as Vegemite, the humble beetroot is an easy to grow vegetable that tastes great cold in a salad or roasted in the oven so why not grow your own beetroot in Perth?
Beetroot is a root vegetable which shares a family line with silverbeet, the only difference being that silverbeet is grown for its leaves and the beetroot primarily for its bulb. However the leaves of the beetroot are in fact edible.
Many people don’t realise just how easy it is to grow beetroot in Perth. The temperate climate makes growing beetroot in Perth a breeze, however best yields tend to come from seeds planted in autumn and spring.
The most common variety of beetroot is the standard deep purple but yellow and white varieties are also available however there is little difference in taste between beetroot varieties.
The smallest variety, the baby beet, has fast become a popular choice as it takes up little room and can easily be grown in a pot. Other varieties included the Super King, Derwent Globe, Detroit Red, and the Cylindra.
When to plant beetroot in Perth:
Beetroot can be planted throughout the year, however, the best yield and quality will come from seeds planted in autumn and spring, when the temperature and climate is moderate.
Plant in a location with full sunlight 10mm deep with 10cm between each seed and 25-30cm between rows or 20cm for baby beets.
Seeds can be placed in small trays and transplanted as seedlings when they sprout. Soaking seeds overnight before planting is recommended. It is also recommended you hand-water each day for a week and then every second day to get seeds to raise.
The key to juicy beetroot is plenty of moisture – preparing the soil with fertiliser and topping up mulch throughout the growth cycle. It is also a good idea to stagger growing because beetroot is best eaten on the day it is harvested. Planting each row a week apart will mean you can enjoy fresh beetroot throughout the entire season.
Beetroots are ready to eat after 10 to 15 weeks, and will start to rise out of the soil. Younger, smaller roots are best as the older and larger roots can sometimes be stringy and tough in comparison. Baby beets may be harvested at seven to eight weeks.
Beetroot leaves can be harvested by cutting them off the top of the beet. Small beetroot leaves can be harvested from about six weeks but don’t overdo it or you’ll weaken the development of the root.
Beetroot common problems:
Too much nitrogen will produce lots of leafy green leaves, but small roots. Planting beets too close together will leave you with a crop of underdeveloped plants also so spacing is important. Beetroots are not too fussy, however they will appreciate some compost added to the soil before planting.
Beetroot fun fact:
Beetroot could be the key to beating a hangover – Beta cyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, which enables your body to turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that can be excreted quicker than normal. Ordering a beetroot juice after a big night might just help you bounce back to your best!
If you have any tips or tricks on how to grow beetroot then leave them in comments section below.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: