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How to Grow Beet Root

Beet is a vegetable which is far too often regarded sole~y as one to               Beetroot store for winter use. This is due partly to force of habit and partly because insufficient are grown for them to be used freely throughout the summer months when they are small, young and tender, and certainly the best flavoured. This need not be so because the seed is cheap enough, the crop takes up little room and is free from pests. = Although usually boiled and used cold as a salad or a pickle.

It can be used as a hot vegetable going excellently with fish. As It is a root crop with the edible portion forming under the soil it is essential that the soil in which it is grown should be free from lumps and fresh manure. An impression has arisen that manure need not be added to soil for root crops, but if it is applied early as well-rotted stuff it is quite all right to use it without any fear of the roots becoming forked. Beetroot bolts easily-i-that is, runs to seed prematurely without forming a swollen edible root. This is invariably caused by a check to the root system and is nearly always the result of sowing the seed too early in the season. Early May is quite soon enough to sow unprotected, under cloches it may be sown a month earlier. Beetroot seedlings, in fact seedlings of practically all root crops, do not pay for transplanting. They will transplant, but unless it is skilfully done and the weather conditions are suitable, the results will be disappoint­ing. The usual practice is to sow in V -shaped drills and thin out the plants to 6-8 inches apart, but by using this method many seedlings are pulled out and discarded, as a so-called beet seed is not really a seed but a capsule containing two or three shiny black seeds. A better way is to take out a drill about the width of a spade, much as for beans but only an inch deep, and as an inch is only the width of a halfpenny care must be taken to see that the drill is not made too deep or the seeds will germinate badly. Scatter the seeds thinly along the bottom of the wide drill and cover with fine soil by drawing it over them with the back of a rake. If the seeds are spaced correctly it will not be necessary to thin the beetroot until they are about the size of golf balls and big enough to eat. By using this method for all the root crops, three and a half times more vegetables can be grown in practically the same space. When thinning, all that it is necessary to do is to increase the distance between each plant until they all stand at 6-8 inches from plant to plant, and it will be found that after eating young vegetables all the summer there will still be more to store than if a single row had been sown.

avoid breaking the tap root or the severed roots will bleed and the colour and flavour will suffer. Store in sand in boxes or barrels or in a clamp covered with straw in the garden. The two most suitable types for the garden are Globe and Intermediate, the long-rooted varieties are only suited for light soil and in many households present a problem as they need a very large pan for cooking as they must not be cut before cooking. The excep­tion is Dells Non Bleeding which is a good dark type and can be cut into convenient pieces before putting into the pan. The beetroot family are natives of the seashore and benefit from an occasional dressing of salt, about an ounce to the yard of row twice during the growing season, once when about 4 inches high and again when half-grown. The foliage is so resistant to salty sprays that they can be sprayed overhead with a solution of nitrate of soda Zozs. to a gallon of water. This should be done when about 2ins. high and will effect­ively kill out all weeds except those related to the beetroot.

Varieties

Globe varieties should be grown for summer and autumn use and intermediate or oval varieties for storing for winter usc. Beetroot with their richly coloured tops can be introduced into many a bedding ~che':le either as dot plants or as a row with contrasting foliage and In this way beauty and utility may be combined, and is a solution when there is neither space nor inclination to have a separate veget­able garden. Varieties Detroit Globe, Crimson Globe, Boltardy. A new variety known as Golden beet is now available. Of globe shape, the skin is golden orange and the flesh yellow. It does not 'bleed' like red varieties and can be cooked in the usual way, while the leaves can be boiled and served like spinach.

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