Sugar beet is widely cultivated as a commercial sugar crop in temperate climates. About one third of all sugar production in the world is derived from this plant.
Sugar beet has excellent potential as a biomass crop, both as a source of sugar and also using the plant residue for fuel.
Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use.
Sow April in situ.
Beets grow well in a variety of soils, growing best in a deep, friable well-drained soil abundant with organic matter, but doing poorly on clay. They prefer an open position and a light well-drained soil. The optimum pH is 6.0 - 6.8, but neutral and alkaline soils are tolerated in some areas. Some salinity may be tolerated after the seedling stage.
Root - raw or cooked. The root contains 16 - 20% sugar and this is often extracted and used as a sweetener. This plant is a major source of sugar in many temperate areas. The root can also be used as a vegetable. When cooked it is quite tender, but with some fibrous strands. It has a very sweet flavour that some people find too sweet. The raw root is rather tough, but makes a pleasant addition to salads when grated finely.
Leaves - raw or cooked. A very acceptable spinach substitute.