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.
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 ……