Summer Harvest Notes: Beetroot

I got my first real beetroot harvest today.

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Back in spring I put shade cloth over a bed that I had thrown a lot of seeds into in a bit of an experiment to see if things would just grow wild and happily together. It was obviously a warm and often hot spring and I thought nothing would grow under full sun. I ended up neglecting the bed for a couple of months after despairing at the hot weather. Before Christmas I put in an automatic drip system  in the bed. And when we returned form holidays I was pleasantly surprised that the bed was growing wonderfully.

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So today I went in and renovated to prepare for more seeds. And I found all this beetroot which hadn’t germinated before I put the drip system in and I had given up hope on.

So, beetroot will grow and thrive under shade cloth,  being crowded by other overgrown and bolting greens, and with drip irrigation. Look how pretty the stems and leaves are – also edible.

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I sowed three kinds: Burpees Golden, Chioggia, and Bull’s Blood. None of the latter grew. I’m roasting the Golden and Chioggia in oil and salt to see if they turn out the way I remember a nice warm salad of roasted veg I had at the cafe at the Garden of St Erth last year.

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So now I’m feeling hopeful again and have some more seed soaking which I plan on sowing tonight. I’m soaking them as I’ve read this helps increase germination rates (for silverbeet also).  I know I put in a whole lot more seed than has come to fruition, so, I’ll try this.

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I have enough of a harvest for two meals but had I seen the seedlings emerge I would have thrown more seed in at that point so I had a bit of succession of beetroot to harvest. However, I didn’t. So in the meantime I’m consoling myself with a sign of what’s to come:

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