Beetroot Problems

I live in South Somerset and for the past two seasons I've planted beetroot boltardy and each time the leaves have grown but the actual beet has failed to form.  It's the same this year and I'm now trying to grow them in raised beds filled with compost.  I water them every day if we don't get rain.  Any ideas?



  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    How widely spaced are the plants? Each beetroot seed is in fact a cluster of seeds, so they do need to be thinned to allow space for the roots to form.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    How long have they been in the ground ?

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    sounds like a lack of thinning to me. Each seed as figrat has said is actually several plants, like most things they grow bigger if thinned out. Don't just bung the thinnings on the compost though, tasty and bright addition to any salad dish!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,819

    Sounds to me as if they might be too wet, very few things need watering every day.

     Last year mine took ages and ages to develop good roots - I put it down to the wet and cold - when the weather turned warmer and sunnier in early August (remember that?) my second sowing bulked up quite quickly.

    Hopefully yours will improve now you've had some warmer weather image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Yep, beetroot need plenty of sun and warmth. And they'd only need watering every day in the hottest conditions.

  • the beetroot were planted in a tape, with the seeds already properly spaced hopefully!  I've been watering them every day as it's been hot and dry recently, and because they are planted in a raised bed filled with compost, so I watered them thinking that there would be a lack of water retention.  The leaves have grown but there is still very little to show belowground. I would add that before we moved to Somerset we lived in Reading, Berks and had no problems whatsoever with beetroot in our allotment soil.  Perhaps that's where I'm going wrong, by comparing the growth in one area to another? image

  • Ian 4Ian 4 Posts: 26

    I start beetroot in march in individual modules. This waythe  root does not get disturbed  when the beetroot goes in the ground. My beetroot is planted between tomatoes in greenhouse. they get the warmth & light they need & are picked well before tomato leaves reduce the light.

  • AlieshAliesh Posts: 182

    Hi i have in my garden note book only water beetroot when parched as watering encourages leaf growth and not root development. Mine last year were rubbish maybe it was all that rain. Hopefully they will be better this year only very small at the moment.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Dudley, if the bed is full compost it should retain plenty of moisture. One of the benefits of using compost. It might look dry on top but it's probably damp underneath. Test it by sticking a finger deep into the soil.

    I grow beetroot here in central Italy where it gets stinking hot and I rarely water every day.

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Italophile, I think I'm a big culprit of over watering vegetables in the garden, I think we assume because things need to grow round in shape they need lots of water. Thinking back my best beetroot crop was when my neighbour ( dare I say lazy) looked after things for us for 18 days. Other stuff didn't fare well. Lesson learned.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    KEF, very few things in a garden - vegie or otherwise - like permanently wet roots. About the only veg I can think of - that I've grown anyway - that likes things damp-ish is celeriac. Rocket needs regular watering, too, or it will bolt in warm weather, though the soil shouldn't be permanently damp.

  • I seem to remember reading a recent article by Mark Diacono in one of the monthly magazines where he said that when he was involved with River Cottage, they tried never to water anything once it was in the ground. 

    I thought at the time that this did not seem practical, but does lend strength to the argument that we can all overdo the watering occasionally.  

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    I've never had this problem but if the roots are not swelling, the plants may be under stress - drought/cold spell etc.

    In dry conditions, water every 2 weeks.

  • Dudley Horler,


    I have just read your post and I am so interested to see you had problems with Bolthardy Beretroot last year too.  

    Such a disappointment.  In fairness, I planted other varieties too, all in my polytunnel, and they simply didn't form roots. Loads of leaves though.  I wondered if it was a soil problem.  I treated them the same way as the previous year when the crop turned out well.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    An excess of nitrogen - either in the soil or added later - is a common cause of leaf development at the expense of the root. Don't overcrowd them, thin out the multiple seedlings that emerge, give them plenty of sun, water very sparingly, and they should pretty much grow themselves.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,357

    A few years ago I left a tray of 3" tall beetroot seedlings, sown in modules, laying on an unused part of a veg bed for a few weeks as there was no room for them.  A few weeks later I found they had rooted into the soil below and they went on to produce usable roots.  I don't know if that tells us anything other than neglect isn't necessarily a bad thing! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,819

    Most plants will grow if there's any opportunity at all image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Bf206Bf206 Posts: 235

    i have real problems with leaf miners on my beets. Everyone seems to say that you need to try and pick off the larvae / mined leaves but that the roots themselves shouldn't really be affected. I do find though that my plants get so affected that it takes much longer for roots to swell. any tips? I'd like to try them again this yr. 

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