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Beta Vulgaris vulgaris, Beetroot - Cylindra


This beet dates back to the 1880s, also known as the "Formanova". 

Dark red, cylindrical and about 15-20cm tall. Sweet tasting flesh. Ideal variety for slicing. Matures medium early.

A good companion for dwarf beans, onions and kohl rabi. Its growth is inhibited by runner beans, charlock and field mustard.

Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours.

Pre-soaking for 12 hours in warm water prior to sowing encourages more rapid and even germination.

Sow mid March-July, or under glass in January-February to crop May onwards. Germinates between 8 and 25°C.

Succeeds in sun or light shade in moist soils but prefers a rich well-drained light neutral to alkaline soil. Beets grow well in a variety of soils, growing best in a deep, friable well-drained soil abundant with organic matter, but doing poorly on clay. They prefer an open position and a light well-drained soil.

Edible uses

Root - raw or cooked. Well-grown roots are sweet and tender, especially when young, and can be grated and used in salads. Beetroots are traditionally boiled until tender then pickled in vinegar and used in salads. The roots can also be cooked and used as a vegetable, they are sweet and delicious when baked. The root contains up to 8% sugar. The root is tasteless when grown on very wet soils and dry when grown on clay soils. Immature roots can be harvested in the summer and early autumn for immediate use, these are usually much more tender than the older roots. Mature roots can be left in the ground all winter and harvested as required, though they might suffer damage in severe winters. Alternatively, they are harvested in late autumn or early winter and will store for up to 6 months in a cool but not dry frost-free place.

Leaves - raw or cooked like spinach. A reasonable spinach substitute, though harvesting leaves from growing plants can reduce yields of the roots. Some people dislike the raw leaves since they can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth.


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