the beets go on …

I thought my first post should explain why I chose my blog title The Beets Generation, it’s obviously a play on words but it’s because I’m a total beetroot obsessive, I adore the earthy, sweet, pinky red globes of deliciousness (and not forgetting the golden, white and stripey ones as well) .

This new found love of beetroot started with taking on my first allotment where I discovered  that it was one of the easiest and incredibly delicious vegetables that I could grow.  So from that first year when I harvested the beauty that is known as Chiogga (a pink and white striped Italian variety) my heart sang,  its beauty was not just skin deep because when you slice one open they reveal the secret pink and white concentric circles all the way through like old fashioned seaside rock, and have a truly yummy earthy sweetness when cooked.

I am growing 8 different varieties this year, “8”  I hear you say “is that not a bit over the top” well yes and no, I really want to nail my favourite beets so that next year I will just stick to those and hopefully just be growing  4/5 varieties. I’m trialling the old classic favourite Boltardy,  a gorgeous golden variety called Burpees Golden, Purple Haze, an organic Detroit, and Detroit 2,  Crosby’s Egyptian Turnip Rooted, Clyindra, Tonda Di Chiogga (the pink and white striped ones) and last but not least Boldor.

These varieties will give me a rainbow of beetroot colours and a vast flavour spectrum that all look and taste stunning in a number of dishes from beetroot houmous, beetroot, goats cheese and walnut risotto, beetroot and mascarpone pizza, smoothies, roasted beets and an abundance of other delicious recipes that will let the humble beetroot shine as the number one ingredient and not just plopped on the side of a salad like an afterthought as most salads in the 1970’s seemed to include.

IMG_2492

I start my beetroot off in plug cells, undercover from early March, 4/5 each to a cell as I watched the wonderful Charles Dowding demonstrate on one of his YouTube videos. I then transplant them into my large raised bed at the allotment and cover with fleece or a fine mesh to stop the birds nipping away at their tasty leaves. The first time I grew them like this I really didn’t think that it would work with so many to a cell but I should have trusted Charles’s wise words, they all came up beautifully in a cluster, perfect if you like to pick them early like sweet little golf balls.

I remove the fleece when they are big enough to look after themselves and just find that as long as they are watered they are quite happy with only the odd slug nibble here and there! I sow in succession to make sure I have an ongoing harvest and will pop my last ones in around July. This gives me a plentiful supply throughout the summer and autumn and enough to share with friends as well. If you decide to leave a few in throughout the winter you can add the leaves to salads and stir fries meaning that literally the Beets go on ……

Advertisements

Shady goings on …

My mum is moving down to Cornwall and as she’s downsizing had nowhere for a 6ft ottoman to go. Well, not any longer, it now has pride of place as a new raised bed in a very shady unloved part of my allotment.

I spent the whole of Tuesday knocking down a compost bay, removing a huge amount of rubbish (more commonly known as skip finds) and levelling the area. Next came barrow load after barrow load of homemade compost and sieved soil. This was a real back breaker and I have to say I was quite glad when the whole operation was over. 

Suddenly though, it all seemed as though it was slowly coming together. I decided to give it a couple of coats of paint with some leftovers (from when we had made the strawberry cages) to offer some protection and smarten it up a bit.


An enormous cherry tree overshadows the bed and a 7ft hedge to the side stops a lot of light getting in so this bed will be mainly for shade loving lettuces, Mizuna, Kale and I’m going to pop a couple of rows of carrots in to see if the carrot fly is put off by the height of the bed (probably not but worth a try).

I have to say that I’m really pleased with the result as a once grotty area of the plot is now being utilised and has also given new life to an unloved piece of furniture.