BEET THESE: Wyatt Hastie, 3, holds up some of the larger specimens of beetroot grown at his family’s Manawahe garden. Photo supplied

MANAWAHE resident Ash Hastie and family were pleasantly surprised when their beetroot crop – the first they’ve planted of this variety – yielded some huge specimens.

“This is the first year that we actually planted the cylinder beetroot and it’s been really good,” Ash says. “They taste better than the standard round beetroot.”

Of the 33 large beetroots harvested from the small plot, Ash says the largest weighs in at just under three quarters of a kilo. He planted two rows of beetroot, of seven metres in length each.

“It only took two months to grow. We planted in October and I thought, ‘far out’ when I pulled them out just last week,” he says.

He says he used simple cow manure to fertilise the seeds he purchased from Bunnings and left the beetroot to its own devices for the most-part – doing minimal maintenance.

Allowing the grass to grow around the top of the beetroot protected it from the ravages of the sun and resulted in a prime product, he says.

“Because we let the grass grow around them, we didn’t actually know how big they were till we pulled them out and we were pretty shocked,” he says.

It was unusual that the beetroot did so well this year given that the rest of his garden had poor results. “A lot of the other crops we planted just went to seed,” he says.

Having passed a few around to friends and neighbours, Ash says a few others will be bottled.

“We’ll put aside some for roasting – I really like them that way. But the kids will eat them raw,” he says.

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz