Silverbeet (Beta vulgaris) belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family and is closely related to beetroot and true spinach. It supplies useful amounts of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins A and C and riboflavin from the fleshy green cooked leaves.
As a wild plant, silverbeet is a biennial and produces flowers and seeds after the winter of the second year after planting. Under cultivation, it is treated as an annual and is harvested before the plants ‘bolt’ into flower.
Most production is in the Perth Metropolitan Area where it is usually grown under frost-free conditions. A slightly acid to neutral soil is preferred (pH 5.8 to 7.0), well supplied with organic matter.
The crop is grown throughout the year but cold conditions in winter may cause the plant to run to seed in spring. Plants will produce fairly well during summer but must be kept well watered to prevent wilting and leaf burn. There is no consistent seasonal effect on production and prices, which fluctuate throughout the year.