Beetroot is such a hotly contested little root. Don’t be fooled by the vinegary pots of lurid purple slices to be found on the supermarket shelves. Beetroot has had a makeover recently and is now a vegetable in it’s own right; sometimes even the star of a dish rather than something to pop in a sandwich or on the side. It’s definitely worth growing your own beetroot because you can harvest it as a young little orb and you can also eat it’s baby leaves. Where can you buy fresh baby beetroot leaves for a salad? I don’t think you can. If you’re still not convinced perhaps I can temp you with a beetroot brownie recipe!
This is successional sowing post #2 and I’ll focus on beetroot and hopefully give you some Top Tips. It’s always best to sow beetroot in situ; that goes for all root vegetables. They don’t like disturbance and who can blame them since all the action is going on in the root. So, once your soil starts to warm up you can sow beetroot outside. If it’s still a bit cold start a box/bucket in the green house. You can really pack them in. As they mature you can harvest the tiny beets and leaves for salads which effectively thins your crop without wasting a single one. The beets left behind will have more room to expand and you can go back for them later.
The beetroot seed is a tough old nut. It actually has a naturally protective coating which can hinder germination. It’s advisable to soak your beetroot seed in water to dissolve this coating and hopefully improve germination rates. It doesn’t take a minute. Pop them in a bowl of water and by the time you’ve made your drills and popped some compost in you’re ready to rock.
I sowed my beetroot a little too early so germination has been poor. If you close an eye and squint you might be able to see the 3 or 4 seedlings that have bravely soldiered on. I’ve added a few more seeds and fingers crossed the soil has warmed up a few degrees and I’ll be on my way to harvesting.
I know you are probably desperate to know how my Successional sowing Spreadsheet is working out. It’s working out really well!
The back row are the second sowing that I made today.
There’s something about filling in the spreadsheet cells with sowing dates then germination dates and in a few weeks time harvest dates that appeals to the geek in me. It also makes me focus on other factors like which peas are easiest to germinate (Pea Blue Shelling and Snow Pea Goliath without a doubt)
… and which ones are a struggle (Pea Alderman unfortunately as this came highly recommended to me).
I was also unable to fill in the Eggplant and Sugar Snap Pea germination cells (shock horror!) because (wait for it….) No Germination Occurred…….
……not a sausage let alone a pea of an eggplant. Very disappointing. Golly Roll On Spring or this blog is in danger of becoming scarily Dull!! Photos of soil and little else do not a good blog make :-)
I’m even able to see what kind of germination percentage I’m getting (I’m not recording this but I could if I wanted to!). Anyway, care, patience, meticulous – they’re my new watch words…..
Radish, broccolli, spinach, lettuce are all merrily germinating
Here’s what I’m sowing in the second half of August
Pea Alderman Tall Climbing
Pea Blue Shelling
Dwarf Sugar Snap
Snow Pea Goliath
Beetroot Bull’s Blood
Broccolli Tender Stems
Broccolli Sprouting Summer Purple
Radish Pink Beauty
Eggplant Long Purple
Eggplant Purple Gem
Lettuce Lollo Bionda
Lettuce Little Gem
Rhubarb Cherry Red (I didn’t actually sow this in the first half so I’m sowing it now)
Let’s see how this second sowing goes. I’m hoping it’s going to be a warm Spring so that I can plant my hardier seedlings outside because at this rate I’m going to run out of greenhouse space!