This year I grew Cylindra beetroot, a variety I’ve never tried before. They were a bargain buy from the allotment shop at the princely sum of 85p.
It took me a while to notice, but the difference between this variety and other beets is the shape. I suppose the clue is in the title, but I didn’t click when I bought the seed. Only when the beetroot began to get to a decent baby beet size did I notice that the root grows in a long, cylindrical shape, rather than like a tennis ball.
At first, I didn’t really take to Cylindra. The variety grows slower than the traditional round beetroots, so I was left a little frustrated at not tucking into beetroots as early as I normally do.
Two Unique Qualities:
However, this beetroot is worth waiting for two unique reasons: uniformity and slicing qualities.
The beets all grow the same shape and very nearly the same size. For an organised gardener who loves regularity, this variety is a dream.
And being a lovely, elongated tubular shape makes these beets a joy to slice and use. Each slice is the same size, so much easier to work with than an uneven round beetroot, and looks very presentable on the plate. In fact, this is attractive veg all round. As well as the unique shape, the skin is shiny and smooth and the colour deep and red.
I’m not sure I sowed the seed deep enough as some seedlings grew out at an angle, but generally, once they established the roots stood proud a few inches out of the ground. Apparently you can earth them up too, which increases the time they’ll stay in the ground in good condition for longer.
One real bonus I’ve found is that the roots don’t go woody. They just keep growing happily and even the biggest root I’ve harvested (about 6 inches) tasted sweet and the remaining beets are still tasting good now.
Practically, the shape is a bonus for people with small spaces or employing the square feet gardening technique as they can be planted closer together than globe varieties. Like all other beets, the seedlings transplant without fuss too, so don’t throw away those thinnings.
Growing Cylindra Next Year? You Bet!
This beet was a real find and is my new favourite beetroot variety. Normally I go with the old reliables Boltardy and Detroit Globe, but next year I’m going to stick with Cylindra.
I do have mixed feelings about trying different veg varieties – I find reassurance in the tried and trusted varieties that have served me well in the past, but I also enjoy trying new ones to see how they fit in with my growing patterns.
There is something stimulating about continuous veg growing refinement, as an on-going mission to find the perfect combination of plants for my environment. If you’re on the hunt for an attractive, consistent, and space-efficient beetroot for your own growing area, I’d thoroughly recommend Cylindra.