2017 will be by far my best season of growing beetroot.
I have sown three crops:
1): an early crop of Boltardy, sown in early February and fully harvested by June 30th;
2): a main crop of Pablo, which I also use for exhibiting, sown 2 days before the April full moon and going to yield 45 beautiful roots from now to the end of September;
3): an experimental crop of 30 Mulatkas from Kazakhstan, via Real Seeds, transplanted on the morning sun side of pole beans in late May after sowing two days before the May full moon. These will be left in the ground until it is time to compost the ground.
The lessons I have learned are these:
1): Beetroot crops can be good even without good compost, provided the plants establish satisfactorily. My Boltardy crop was transplanted in early March, three of ten clumps were replaced due to slug damage and giving a good feed of seaweed was of great benefit in establishing the young plants in less than perfect soil. From mid April on, the plants grew away well and the first harvest was taken in early June.
2): In good compost, 100% establishment of young plants is achievable from early May onwards. Both Pablos and Mulatkas established perfectly.
3): Reasonable roots will develop after 12 weeks even in partly shaded ground with good compost. Enormous roots develop within 16 weeks in good compost in a sunny aspect.
4): unlike other crops which show edge effects of less productivity near bed borders, my best beetroots this year are at the end of rows.
5): In good compost, an area of 2.5 square metres will provide more than enough beetroot for three adults through the year. Obviously, the more inventive you get in preparing beetroot to eat, the greater area you may choose to grow.