This is growing beets at Level Zero for absolute beginner gardeners. Learn to grow these, and the rest of the Amaranth family will fall into place. The two most easy beets to grow, and those we prefer here in our patch, are BEETROOT and SPINACH.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: In Level Zero gardening,
we stick to some basic methods and simple rules that prepare the garden for anything we want to grow. Check them out here first.
In our Level Zero calendar, September (early Spring) is the month for beets, but any time in Autumn or Spring is fine. ‘Succession planting’ (spacing out planting time) is good to spread harvest. Divide your seed packet into four and plant each quarter two weeks apart, so they don’t all come to size at the same time.
Why is beetroot Level Zero? It is not so fussed about soil type or position. A bit too much shade, or soil that’s not great – they still perform just fine. If it all goes to custard, you can eat the leaves. It’s all good. If soil is tilled, not compacted, and some trenched organics have gone in, then even better.
Beetroot are okay planted as seedlings, but do better from seed. Each little crusty seed parcel actually holds 2-4 seeds, so after they pop up, you’ll have some fun thinning to one per hole. Luckily, the thinned seedlings make for great eating 👍😉 See below how to sow.
In our Level Zero calendar, September (early Spring) is the month for beets, and spinach is surprisingly in this family too, so can be planted at the same time . That said, anywhere a space pops up in the garden in Autumn or Spring is good for these greens.They are delightfully unfussy, so long as the weather isn’t baking hot, or they may well ‘bolt’ up to flower and seed too quickly to harvest much leaf from. Luckily you can also eat the flowers
You can sow spinch in a spot here and there between things, or in a long row. Given they are low growing plants, do choose somewhere near the edge of the bed to avoid straining to reach, since you will be picking leaves off these plants starting from the outside. Plant about a fist apart.
Spinach is happy enough grown from seedlings, and with a lot of spring weedy green things popping up, a safe Level Zero approach is to opt for seedlings to avoid confusion with other plants. However, if frost is about in your area, growing from seed makes them stronger. The seeds look a lot like beetroot seeds (being in the same family)- with a corky coating, so soaking overnight in water is a good prep as it softens that outer husk. Sow them first-knuckle-deep. Check out our Wet Sowing method #3 for help. New spinach sprouts have long rabbit-ear first leaves, so you will quickly learn to identify them. We will check in again soon to show.
- Choose a garden bed that has been trenched, so that it has plenty of organics to feed your beetroot or spinach. They are forgiving of course, but will love you for the extra goodies.
- Pre-soak the seeds in a glass of warm water overnight (it won’t stay warm but that’s okay). It softens the outside husk and helps with germination. When the seeds sink, they are fully hydrated 👍✨
- Till the soil before sowing to be sure it is not compacted.
- Pre-wet the soil to build a bank of moisture.
- Push seeds into the soil with your dibber or make rows with a HoriHori knife if you have one.
- POP SEEDS IN, firm down soil and mark them so you know where they are.
- Be patient – beetroot in particular take their sweet time to come up, depending on the weather, 2-4 weeks.
We will check back again soon to see how they are getting on, and show how to thin out the little beets and spinach plants.
Look wide, grow well, folks.