SUCCESSFUL BEETROOT FARMING

August 8, 2021 Hansie Britz

                         

Beetroot is generally a widely adaptable crop that can be grown under most conditions throughout South Africa. Beetroot can be planted all year round but as a rule of thumb, areas where there could be frost conditions or excessive heat around planting time these should be avoided.

Soil Preparation

As seed is sown directly, fields need to be prepared correctly and thoroughly. The soil need to be well tilled, free of old plant material and have a good crumb structure. Good soil preparation can be achieved by ploughing, harrowing, and leveling prior to sowing. The ideal pH for beetroot production is between 6.0 and 8.0. Beetroot prefer deep, friable, well drained sandy loams to silt loams.

Crop Rotation

Good crop rotation will keep the soil healthy and fertile. Beetroot can safely be rotated with the following crops:

  • Legumes.

  • Babala.

  • Cereals.

  • Tomatoes.

  • Cabbage.

  • Onions and carrots.

Transplanting

More than 90% of beetroot producers sow the seed directly in the soil, but seed can also be sown in seedbeds, and then transplanted. Seed trays or other containers can also be used to raise seedlings but this is expensive because of the high cost.

Harvesting

Soil should be slightly moist before cutting or pulling beets. If the soil is too dry, roots maybe difficult to clean and the rate of top breakage maybe too high. For the best flavor and tenderness harvesting should begin when roots are 3-4cm in diameter. Handle beets carefully after harvesting to avoid damaging the roots. Any damage reduces shelf life and increases the chances of decay and disease.

                                             

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