~ BEETROOT Seed ~
Beetroot are an easy vegetable to grow and take about 90 days to mature:
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'Albino' White Beetroot
Not just a novelty, this pointy white beetroot is great - no more red stains all over the kitchen. The flavour is just as normal. It is also the most productive and quick-growing beetroot we have found.
Although white beetroot have been known since at least Roman times, this is an improved modern variety for home gardens, and dual-purpose - the succulent green leaves have been bred for use as leaf beet or chard. We often pick the beet in the morning, cook the leaves at lunch, & eat the root for dinner.
White beetroot. Leaves also particularly good to eat
200 seed £
The name means "Bloody". If you do want a good traditional, deep blood-red beetroot, this is the one.
Large conical roots, with intense red flesh, very juicy and sweet. This special strain from Italy is the most productive red beetroot we have found. Tender even when huge - lots of people have written in to say how much they like it.
Very large conical roots. Tender, no woodiness. Deep red.
200 seed £
‘Touchstone Gold’ Yellow Beetroot
We really love this variety. Yellow beets used to be widely grown, but many of the the good old garden strains are no longer well maintained. However, after much searching we finally found this excellent and very beautiful beetroot!
Touchstone Gold has been rebred from old seed stocks by our friends at Wild Garden Seeds, and they have done a great job - coming up with a really vigorous, quick-growing yellow beet that makes round, bright yellow roots. It is tender and very sweet.
Although it is of course very nice cooked and sliced, that's not all you can do with beetroot. Here we have also made a raw grated beet and carrot salad, served with pasta & fresh basil pesto , chadwick cherry tomatoes, and garnished with edible borage flowers. (You'll find all the ingredients in the catalogue apart from the pasta) The Touchstone Gold is the yellow in the middle - what a great colour:
In 2014 Tom Hartley brought us back lots of seeds from Kazakhstan, including several beetroot, and we grew them all out to see what they were like. We did a blind taste-test, trying them all unlabelled, and this one came out as the best every time.
It was then a two-year project to bulk it up and produce seed; we grow it, harvest the beet, check for the right size and shape, replant the good ones and then they make seed the following spring.
Here it is then for you to try; our favourite of all the beetroot varieties Tom brought back - a good deep flavour, medium sweet flesh, and a consistent shape with sturdy growth.
Tasty rare beet from Kazakhstan. Just a few hundred packets available each year.
at least 150 seed £
Saving your own Beetroot Seed:
Beetroot seed is fairly easy, provided you don't have any chard or leaf beet flowering nearby.
Beetroot flower in their second year, so you need to
either leave them in the ground overwinter,
or dig up your beetroots in Autumn. Lay them all out so you can compare them, and select the best 12 - 16 roots:
- Make sure you choose ones that are true-to-type: right colour, shape & size.
- If your area has cold winters, store them in sand or
sawdust in a cool but frost-free place, and plant out in spring.
(the ideal storage is about 5-10 C and 95% humidity). Otherwise in milder areas, replant them straight away where you want them to grow.
- You can plant them outside, but you will get much more seed if you plant them in a polytunel.
- The next summer they will flower (to about 5 foot high!).
They will probably need staking so that they don't fall over.
Remember, that they will cross with any other flowering beetroots, chard or leaf beet nearby. The flowers are wind pollinated.
- Your seed will be ready in late summer. Just rub
the seed off when it is mostly brown.
You will get huge amounts of seed: dry it well, and it will be good for 3 or more years.
Above you can see a good trick with beetroot or chard
seed. Our rubber door mat has holes in it.
We just stomp on the dry seed-stalks , then roll back the mat and sweep up the seed.
To clean the seed free from dust and debris, see our Winnowing Instructions in the Seedsaving table on the left.
There are more detailed home-seed saving guides (printable) over to the left of this page,
in the box titled 'SeedSaving', with sheets on drying and storing your seed too.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.