We are lucky that our weather enables us to grow beetroot most of the year (however not when too wet in our summer).
Beetroots are a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health.
It functions by acting with other nutrients to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homologue of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine, which can be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Betaine functions in conjunction with S-adenosylmethionine, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12 in order to carry out this function.
Beetroots grow very well in most situations and are even well suited to growing in containers and, like most root vegetables (e.g. carrots and parsnips) beetroots need a rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of organic matter.
Drainage is crucial so I would recommend raised beds if possible.
I have found that beetroots grow best from when planted from seed directly into the garden bed. Soaking the seeds overnight before planting will also improve your results. Plant the seeds about 2cm deep and about 2cm apart.Cover the lightly with seed raising mix or a fluffy compost. keep damp and in about two weeks your baby beets will appear.
You will probably find you need to thin them out so that there is around 6 – 8cm between each beetroot plant.
Water deeply and keep the soil around emerging seedlings damp. Regular watering will help keep the beets from going woody but don’t overdo it.
Beetroots are pest free except for some fungal diseases when it is too wet.
My favourite recipe is a simple Warm Beetroot salad with Goats Cheese and Walnuts. A very simple dish, which makes a great starter for a dinner party or a light lunch.
Don’t throw away the leaves these are fantastic lightly sautéed with anchovies and garlic breadcrumbs. This could be a tasty vegetable course or a light meal accompanied by a chilled glass of reisling.