Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Grow Your Own => Topic started by: Perthshirelady on October 09, 2020, 17:01

Title: Tiny beetroot
Post by: Perthshirelady on October 09, 2020, 17:01
This is the second year I have tried growing beetroot but, despite luxurious leafy growth, the roots stay obstinately tiny.  I planted them three separate sowings during May - same result. This is now 9th October and they are still ridiculously small, about half an inch across.  My garden is in central Perthshire, at 100m/280ft above sea level, but sheltered by a high wall.
Is it just too cool here for beetroot?
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: 8doubles on October 10, 2020, 12:43
Are you thinning them out well ?
Beetroot do not fill out if they are too overcrowded.
Which variety are you growing .
I have stuck with Boltardy for years and they never fail even if you get a few that do not get very big they are still worth cooking . :)
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: jambop on October 10, 2020, 18:33
Are you thinning them out well ?
Beetroot do not fill out if they are too overcrowded.
Which variety are you growing .
I have stuck with Boltardy for years and they never fail even if you get a few that do not get very big they are still worth cooking . :)
My beetroot disagree they seem to be happy to grow close to each other and have produced some very nice roots funny old world of plants :lol:
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: Deborah1 on October 10, 2020, 21:12
Iíve had the same problem. Iíve sown Detroit, Boltardy and PabloF1. Other years more or less successful (apart from blooming field voles hollowing them out) This year have sown 4 times without yet harvesting a single beetroot. Sown direct and sown in modules and planted out. No idea why I canít get a result. I only want them ping pong ball size to pickle!!!
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: Potty Plotty Lotty on October 11, 2020, 07:18
In the early days of having my allotment I struggled with beetroot. Once I started adding a bit of manure as the soil preparation and feeding with chicken manure pellets I've had no issues. In fact quite the opposite!

I wonder whether there is too much nitrogen in the soil for Perthshirelady hence the lush foilage. Might also be worth trying another pack of seed if you haven't already. 

I only grow Boltardy, start in modules and don't bother thinning out. My foilage certainly isn't lush.



Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: CHRISDONOHUE on October 16, 2020, 12:04
I have had similar problems in the past but in my current plot I cannot stop them growing much larger than ideally the golf ball size I prefer although I have watered them much more than previously in dry periods to establish them.   I do not think the problem relates to your location.   I would start next season with a balanced fertiliser (organic/inorganic) in the bed and water well to establish them.
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: Ema on October 17, 2020, 09:46
Did you use the same packet of seeds both years. I would find a different spot for them next year, weed it and mulch with compost at this time of year. Is the wall shading them? pick a different variety.
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: jaydig on October 17, 2020, 15:18
My beetroot has been the same this year.  Anything from the size of a large marble to a golf ball.  Watered well, thinned out, but still haven't made any size at all.  Oh well, there's always next year.
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: CHRISDONOHUE on October 18, 2020, 01:49
The explicit chemical you need in the soil for root development is phosphorus and the most likely cause of the roots failing to develop properly is a shortage in your soil.   But a balanced fertiliser applied early in the year should solve this problem.   Is your growth problem only with beetroot or only with root crops and do other crops grow well with you?
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: Perthshirelady on October 20, 2020, 16:08
Thanks for all the contributions to the discussion!  Very interesting to read your suggestions.
The explicit chemical you need in the soil for root development is phosphorus and the most likely cause of the roots failing to develop properly is a shortage in your soil.   But a balanced fertiliser applied early in the year should solve this problem.   Is your growth problem only with beetroot or only with root crops and do other crops grow well with you?
My carrots and potatoes grow fine (except for slug problems) but I havenít tried other root veg for comparison. I use homemade compost on my veg beds, a good thick layer every winter.  I used different seeds each time, multisown in the greenhouse in modules as suggested by Charles Dowding who says they like company. 
Iíll try single sowings next year and experiment with adding fertiliser to balance out the nitrogen/phosphorus to see if I can crack the problem. 
Title: Re: Tiny beetroot
Post by: New shoot on October 21, 2020, 09:33
It might be worth picking the brains of any local allotmenteers or home gardeners that you know, just to see if there is a particular variety they all favour.  Beetroot is generally unfussy, but perhaps your local growing conditions favour certain types.

I sow in modules and put 3 seeds in each. I plant out clumps in a block about 20cm apart.  The modules I use fit 12 cells into a standard size seed tray.  I donít know how this compares to what you do, but sometimes it is worth just going through the steps of the process to see if that sheds any light on things.

I donít have any special feeding regimes. My soil gets homemade compost, pelleted chicken manure and sometimes Growmore.  Growmore is good for making sure there are a balance of nutrients in the soil, especially after a wet winter.  Chicken manure gives anything growing a boost once it has got going  :)