The beet belongs to the Betoideae family. It is a form of turnip. This classic winter vegetable owes its intense red color to glycoside betanin. They are also rich in vitamin B, iron, potassium, and folic acid.
Beetroots are refreshingly simply to grow, taste delicious, and make a beautiful crop in a pot with their fresh green leaves streaked with red veins and stems.
In addition to the traditional beets, white, golden, and red-and-white-striped beets are available in grocery shops. All of them can be regrown, as long as they still have their leaves or the tops of the roots intact.
Beetroots are biennial taproots, and the growing tip of a beetroot is right at the top of the root. So when you regrow beets, you’re growing them for the tops, called beet greens, rather than the roots. They are delicious, and there plenty of uses for them.
Steps to regrow beets
Find a good spot for the beetroots
Beetroots are not very picky when it comes to climatic conditions. They grow in cold climates without a problem. Although they benefit from a bright and sunny place.
Prepare the beets for regrowing
For regrowing, it is important that you use raw beet and not the pre-cooked kind from the supermarket.
To prepare the beets, use a knife to make a clean cut through the beet leaving only 2cm, plus the top. If the beet has leaves on it, snip the leaves off, but be careful to leave the top intact. Keeping the leaves on top, discourages more leaves from growing, but you can cook the ones you snipped.
Plant the beetroots
Fill the pot with soilless mix, which is sterile and less likely to have bacteria or fungi that could cause the beet tops to rot. Leave about 3cm between the top of the soil and the edge of the pot so that when you water the soil, the soil does not float up and over the edge of the top. Beets like it when the soil is constantly a bit moist but not too wet.
Plant the cuttings by sticking the beet tops into the soilless mix with the top ends up. Bury the beetroots about halfway, leaving the tops out. For regrowing, you can leave about 1.5cm to 3 cm between the pieces, they don’t need a lot of room. In two to three weeks, the first leaves should be visible.
Harvesting and use
Keep beets growing as long as they produce leaves. Snip young greens to use in salads or soups. Once they stop producing, throw the tops into the compost pile.
It is advisable to harvest the leaves only if you plan to use them shortly afterward, otherwise, the tender green leaves will quickly start to wilt and stop looking so healthy. But be careful, if you harvest all the leaves at once, the plant may not be able to recover from the shock.
You can try to plant the beet tops outside to see if they’ll send up a flower stalk. One benefit if you’re successful with this experiment is that pollinators love the little beet flowers. Your other vegetables will thank you.
It is recommended that you wear gloves when handling beets, or wash your hands immediately as red beets stain everything.
Enjoy your regrown beets with your loved ones. You can prepare lots of different dishes with them. Nothing beats the flavour of home-grown food.