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I planted some beetroot last year and obviously should have harvested it before winter but as I didn't have a use for all of it at the time I left some of it to grow. Now it's May (Spring) and I've got mature plants... Should they just go on the compost heap or are they still good to eat? Or perhaps, am I better off waiting until later in the year?

What are my options?

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I think its too late to eat them - they're on their way to flowering, which is what they do in their second year, using the 'beet' or storage organ at the base to grow on in this way. They should produce seed, so if you want to collect that and grow from it, then leave them in. Otherwise, dig 'em up and see if there's anything you can still use at the base - they'll be a good contribution to the compost heap if there isn't. If you wanted to save seed, the flowers can be cross pollinated by other beets or chards nearby, they're wind pollinated, so results if you grew from them would be variable.

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  • I pulled them up and they didn't look very good. I had a nibble on one that wasn't too shrivelled or worm eaten and it was pretty woody... compost heap it is
    – Edd
    Jun 3 '15 at 8:52

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