Beetroot Barbabitola di Chioggia
This traditional variety of beetroot originating from the Italian town of Chioggia has incredible pink and white stripes running through the root. The flavour's a little milder that the other beetroot we sell, but it is one of the most striking vegetables you can get your hands on.
We mainly eat it raw in salads because the rings are tend to fade after cooking.
Time from seed to plate: 8 weeks
Sow beetroot anytime from April to July. If you've got time, soak beetroot seeds overnight in water to remove the natural germination inhibitor from them to speed up sprouting.
Drag a trowel across your bed to create a shallow groove in the soil about half an inch deep. Leave about 2 inches between each seed, and 12 inches between each row. Cover with soil, firm, and water.
If we're short of space, or want to get the plants off to a quick start we sow our seeds in gutters filled with compost. About four weeks after sowing, slide the whole lot out into a pre-formed groove in your plot. Have a look at the video.
There's no need to thin out the seedlings that come up. The roots will push against each other to create their own space.
Only water beetroot if the ground is very parched. This tends to encourage leaf growth, when you want the roots to swell!
Pick a few young leaves for salads. They're bright green with yellow stems so they add wonderful colour.
Start harvesting roots when they reach golf ball size. Pick out the bigger ones, creating extra growing space for the ones you leave behind. Remove the leaves by twisting to prevent bleeding.
Harvest the entire crop before the frosts that normally arrive in October.