I harvested finally, finally, I think the whole neighbourhood exhaled when that happened. 130 days it took! One-hundred-and-thirty, normally it takes about 68 to 110 days depending on the conditions (this is for Beta vulgaris ‘Crimson Globe’, a quicker variety) but due to various factors mine took longer. Oh, much longer. I could speculate that this is due to it being the height of winter and even though winter was mild we did have very cold nights. Also the soil depth and the type of substrate must have impacted on the growth rate, and very possibly wind exposure could have stunted them too. They turned out alright though, considering? Deeper soil, summertime, no pressures of a research deadline… next time it’ll be in and out!
I could have harvested a lot sooner but I needed to line up all the necessary statistical methodology for the research, as well as methodology for sampling and analysing the samples for the lab.
An interesting point about them is that they didn’t really develop a taproot but rather the roots developed adventitiously, I speculate it could be from the loose, humid, nutrient-rich substrate and the fact that the soil was at an average of 75mm depth.
What did happen though was that the roots developed along an axis and not centrally, and one has to think about the whole process of vegetable production: post-production, cleaning, storage etc. It would be interesting to see how the root waste of beets such as these compare to conventionally grown beets. The total waste off this harvest was 572g out of a total yield of 11kg.
The point is that it works, growing vegetables in an extensive green roof system has its advantages. Most definitely Round 2 will see deeper substrate (I was governed by student budget) and not monoculture.
The bulk of the stock went to Lola’s Restaurant on Long Street to be turned into deliciousness such as borscht, juices, salad with award-winning gorgonzola, and the leaves will be utilised too, most likely for crisps (either in the oven or in shallow oil in the pan).
I have the rest of the leaves which I will dice and freeze and will go into caramelised onion, feta and beetroot leaf quiche and quiche and quiche (easy to freeze)!