Beet ‘Bulls Blood’ is a magnificent dual purpose variety known for its deep red coloured leaves. This old variety has been used for both ornamental and culinary use since Victorian times. It was listed pre-1900 in England and is probably the only decorative-leafed Victorian beetroot variety surviving. This useful crop can be used at any stage of growth, harvest the leaves for baby leaf, in mixed salads or use steamed like spinach, or the roots can be left to grow like any other beetroot.
Today, Bull's Blood is the variety used by the commercial growers for both baby leaf and mixed salad leaves. The leaves are broader than other beetroot varieties, more flavourful than other red accent crops, they can be harvested for baby leaf salads in as little as 35 days.
Left to mature they have a particularly sweet taste when cooked, while the medium-sized spherical roots are tender and have a great flavour especially when young. Harvest in 60 days.
Very easy to grow, for very little effort, you can be rewarded with a delightful and delicious addition to any meal. Home grown beets, leaf or root are like nothing you will find in the supermarket produce aisle.
Bull's Blood also makes a striking ornamental plant, it is fully deserving of a place in borders and in beds and makes a dramatic foil to pale coloured flowers. It can be scattered among perennials, grasses and other contrasting foliage and can be sown as a annual with other plantings.
It is a very hardy plant growing to 25 to 35cm (10 to 14in). Left to go to seed they make attractive, green flowering plants the following year. The colour intensifies as the plant matures and the dark leaves can appear almost black in some light.
Bull's Blood are also sold under the name 'Ornamental Beets', they make a very nice dot plant, and if you get fed up with them, you can always eat them.
Prepare the site:
Beets will grow in most types of soil but prefer that it be deep, well-drained, and includes plenty of organic material, such as compost or aged manure (Avoid fresh manure). Too much nitrogen will cause beets to produce lots of greens but little roots. They are especially suitable for container growing; Combined with other salad leaves they make an attractive display.
Sowing: Sow successively from early spring to autumn
Beetroot seed are clusters of seed containing three or four seeds enclosed in a corky layer. These require thinning out early to avoid root disturbance.
Early sowing: Can be made indoors / heated greenhouse in modules / trays and planted out at 5cm (2in) tall after all risk of frost has passed. Otherwise sow direct in a sunny spot 3 to 4 weeks before your last frost date. You can plant up to September for a February harvest. Soaking the seeds overnight in warm water aids germination.
Sowing Direct: Sow the seeds thinly 1cm (½in) deep, in rows 20 to 30cm (8 to 12in) apart, cover with 1cm (½in) of fine soil. Germinates in 2 to 3 weeks at temperatures between 8 and 30°C. Keep soil moderately moist during germination. If germination is clustered and spotty, transplanting can be done to fill in gaps. Be careful to do this in the cooler part of the afternoon, and water often until roots take hold. Water beets regularly as lapses in watering will give woody beets. If you plan to harvest the roots as well as the greens, be sure to thin out young plants. Thin seedlings in two intervals to 5 to 8cm (2 to 3in) apart. Enjoy the removed young greens in a salad. Baby beets can be obtained from thinning to 5cm (2in). For larger beets, thin again in about 2 weeks by picking every other beet, leaving 10cm (4in) between plants. Remove weeds and keep seedlings well watered, especially during dry periods as this will stunt the growth of plants.
Choose containers that are 20cm (8in) diameter and at least 20cm (8in) deep. Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top. Sow seeds thinly on the surface and cover with 2cm (¾in) of compost. Water and thin out seedlings when they are about 2cm (¾in) tall, leaving 12cm (5in) gaps between them and cover with 1cm (½in) of compost. Keep watered regularly.
Harvesting: Harvest for baby leaf from 35 days onwards.
The roots can be pulled from 2cm (1in) to fully mature – The smaller the root the better the quality. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice – don’t throw these away, cook and eat like spinach. Store roots in dry sand, soil, or peat for winter use.
Lightly steamed, the leaves make a tasty side dish. The roots are delightful boiled and eaten warm or cooled and added to a green salad. Bake or roast beets whole in the oven as one does potatoes for a unique culinary treat.
The greens and the roots should be stored separately as the greens are highly perishable, but the roots can last for some time in storage. Another method to store beetroot is pickling and making chutney.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1.75 grams Average Seed Count 100 Seeds Common Name Spinach Beet, Seakale Beet
Other Common Names Perpetual Spinach, Ruby Chard. Family Chenopodiaceae Genus Beta Species vulgaris subsp.cicla Cultivar Bulls Blood Synonym Barbabietola (Italy), beetroot (Britain), betterave (France). Hardiness Hardy Perennial Germination 2 to 3 weeks at temperatures between 8 and 30°C
Soaking the seeds overnight in warm water aids germination.
Harvest For baby leaf salads harvest in as little as 35 day