By its nutritional value, beets follow carrots and cabbage; many of their favorite dishes (vinaigrettes, borscht, salads, etc.) cannot be imagined without it. The root crop is rich in useful elements and organic acids, its regular use improves the functioning of the intestines, cardiovascular system, positively affects the body as a whole. Growing beets in his garden has certain characteristics, which are devoted to the following text.
The beets that we eat are called the canteen, and botanists relate them to the family of harem. This is a two-year-old plant; the seeds are inside hard, dry fruits, from which it is practically impossible to extract them. The fruits are combined in balls and it is them who are sown by gardeners. Each glomerulus gives life to several plants, therefore, the beet thinning procedure is almost mandatory for beets, otherwise the plants will be crowded.
A temperature of + 5 ° is sufficient for seed germination and after 3 weeks you can see the first seedlings, at 10 ° it will go faster and after 10 days sprouts will appear, at 15 ° it will take 5-6 days to germinate, and at a temperature above 20 ° only 3-4 days. Knowledge of the effect of temperature on germination will help the gardener to better navigate the planting dates.
The usual time for planting beets is mid-May, but if adverse weather conditions (prolonged cold weather, for example) occur, later planting dates are acceptable, but then the seeds should be used already prepared. In the absence of weeds, late-sown seeds sprout quickly, especially if the weather is warm. Harvest from late planting will not be worse in quantity and quality.
But the periods of cooling in the spring have a very negative effect on seedlings, provoking the formation of flowering.
Beetroot Planting Technology
Beetroot is a very valuable food crop, demanded in home gardening and popular among consumers of vegetable products. A properly grown root vegetable has not only excellent taste, but also high nutritional value. The technology for preparing seed and planting is not difficult:
- before sowing, mandatory calibration of seeds is carried out with the selection of the largest;
- selected seeds should be soaked and then germinated;
- Good results are obtained by such pre-sowing processes as sparging and pelleting of seeds;
- Experienced gardeners recommend disinfecting seed material in order to obtain healthier and stronger plants.
Proper implementation of the technology of pre-sowing processing of table beet contributes to the first mass seedlings about three times faster than with dry sowing. When using the soaking method, it is recommended to use a dilution of mineral fertilizers at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon of nitrophosphate or a teaspoon of superphosphate per 1 liter of water. In such a solution, the seed material is aged for a day, after which the beet seeds should be washed in running water. Soaking in an organic-mineral mixture, which is based on components such as 0.1 kg of slaked lime, 0.05 kg of chicken manure, 0.01 kg of urea, as well as a teaspoon of superphosphate and potassium salt, also gives a good result.
Prepared for sowing seeds should be placed with a distance of 7-8 cm in previously prepared furrows. The standard distance between the rows should be at least 20−25 cm. Many beet varieties need thinning, which must be considered when sowing. Thickened plantings provoke a decrease in productivity and an unjustified overspending of seed material. If plantings are too rare, low yields are noted. Before sowing, furrows need abundant irrigation.
How to choose and prepare a landing site
When choosing a site for sowing seeds of fodder or table beets in the early spring, the following recommendations should be followed:
- For a full-fledged increase in the mass of root vegetables, vegetable crops need good sunlight and warmth, which suggests the location of ridges on the southern side of the site or in a fairly open area.
- Beets belong to the category of moisture-loving crops, and to obtain marketable and large root crops, vegetable crops should be watered quite often and plentifully, so the site should be in close proximity to the water source.
- Quite often, gardeners use beetroot as a crop-sealant for garden crops such as cucumbers, cabbage or beans.
- It is very important to consider crop rotation criteria, therefore, it is recommended to use carrots, zucchini, onion and nightshade as the optimal precursors for this vegetable crop.
- It is necessary to timely replace the soil or change the garden crops, which will reduce the risk of soil depletion and soil contamination with major beet pests or diseases.
For the optimal development of root crops, loose, permeable to water and air soils are necessary. Soils in the area designated for planting fodder or table beets should have a neutral reaction. It is very important for spring planting to carry out a deep digging of the ridges.
If there is too acidic soil, dolomite flour or wood ash should be added at the rate of 1 kg per square meter of planted area. On loamy soils, it is recommended that autumn application of 300–500 g of superphosphate and 170 g of potassium sulfate per square meter of soil be carried out. If the site is represented by sandy or peaty soils, then fertilizers should be applied in the spring, about two weeks before sowing the seed material. Also, nitrogen-containing fertilizers are introduced before sowing.
It is very important to remember that planting beets can be carried out not only by direct sowing in the ground, but also by seedlings. It is possible to enrich the soil with useful substances before planting using humus, compost based on plant debris, rotted wood sawdust or peat. You should refrain from introducing fresh manure into the beets for growing beets, since such a very powerful source of nitrogen is capable of provoking the accumulation of nitrates in root crops.
Proper root crop cultivation requires frequent and plentiful watering during the periods when the first seedlings appear and then take root, and water is also needed to increase leaf mass. A well-rooted culture will endure a brief dry period. At the same time, an excess of moisture will worsen growth and productivity, therefore, on lands where there is a risk of waterlogging, beet growing, if conducted, only on ridges. The optimal soils for table varieties are medium loamy, suspended and light, in which organic substances are abundant. The culture is considered the most demanding among root crops regarding the fertility of the land.
The reaction of the environment in which you can hope for a good harvest should be close to neutral.
Beets are recommended to be sown on humus-rich and loose soil with an arable layer of 20-25 cm. In lowlands, on clay soils and places where the arable layer is less than 15 cm, beets are best grown on ridges with a width of approx. 80-100 cm, and in height having approx. 20 cm. Aisles do at least 50 cm.
On beet-friendly soils (suspended, sandy) and with other good conditions, it can be grown on flat areas, sowing in strips 100 cm wide, and providing for a passage of at least 40 cm. The main commandment here is to dig the soil for the whole the depth of the arable layer, without turning the pre-arable layer (podzol, clay). It is also important to grind and wrap the soil layer well so that the weeds invariably end up at the maximum possible depth.
Ridges are created in the process of spring digging, orienting in the north-south direction. It is important to obtain a loose soil layer in the ridge, which is achieved with the help of pitchforks, which break the clods and then level the ridge
How to prepare beet seeds for sowing
To check the quality of the seeds before sowing, they are germinated. At the bottom of a flat small container (saucer, plate), a wet canvas or felt rag rolled up in 2 layers is laid out, 50 (maybe 100) seeds are placed on it, which are covered with another moistened rag. Sprouted seeds are selected, at the same time their quantity is fixed. By the number of germinated seeds from the laid out hundreds, we can conclude what percentage of germination in this batch. Germination in this way is checked already in the sorted seeds, i.e. all weak, damaged seeds are previously removed. Beet seeds of the first class usually have an 80% germination rate, which lasts for 3-5 years.
Measures to accelerate the rate of emergence of the first seedlings and a quantitative increase in beet yield can be used traditionally. One way is to soak the seeds in clean water at a temperature of 15-20 °, the duration of the procedure is 1-2 days, and it is recommended to change the water every 2-3 hours.
The method of germination by moistening is also applied to the seeds of the culture, the procedure is similar to that used to measure germination, at a temperature of 18-25 ° they are kept until the vast majority of seeds germinate, which occurs within 3-4 days. Then the germinated seeds are sown in a well-moistened soil.
An even more effective method is vernalization. Seeds are moistened with water (ratio - 100 g of seeds account for the same amount of water). The vernalization procedure can be carried out by placing the seeds in a glass or enameled container and filling with water (first half the volume). The seeds are stirred and left for 32 hours, after which the remaining water is poured. They stand for another 2-4 days, after which the swollen seeds are transferred for 7-10 days to the refrigerator (or just a cold room), sprinkling along the bottom of the box with a layer of no more than 3 cm in thickness. Spring vernalization should begin 10-14 days before seeding.
Features of beet planting
The seeding rate for the crop is 16-20 g of seeds per 10 square meters. m, between the rows they leave 18-20 cm. It is not necessary to close the seeds deep into the depths than inexperienced gardeners sin, because with deep seeding, the chance of germination is reduced, or the growth rate slows down, due to a lack of oxygen at such a depth. But sowing too finely will be a mistake, as there will be a risk that the seeds will dry out or be carried away by the wind. The optimum sowing depth depends on the type of soil; on heavy ones, close 2-3 cm deep, on light ones, 3-4 cm.
Sometimes resort to transverse seeding of seeds. There is a point of view that the transverse rows are easier to care for. To spur the germination of the sown seeds in the ridge (soil), grooves are made, crushing their bottom. Seeds are sown on such a compacted layer of earth, on top of which a half-centimeter layer of soil mixed with humus is poured, it is lightly rammed with the palm of the hand, and another 1-2 cm of humus or peat are poured out, which will protect the grooves from the threat of drying out. And of course, peat or humus mulching between rows will also be beneficial. If the sowing is late, then the bottom of the furrow must first be abundantly watered from a watering can and after absorbing water, sow seeds and sprinkle with soil.
To get the crop in April-May, when sowing is just beginning in the open ground, you need a greenhouse or, as an alternative, insulated ridges, the construction of which will require less time than building a greenhouse. Make them easy. It is necessary to dig a shallow pit, not more than 35 cm in depth, and 1-1.5 m wide. Manure (garbage) must be folded into it so that this heap rises 15-20 cm above the ground, pour 15-20 cm of soil on top of it . Heat will be released from the heap for a long time, which will heat the plants. Additional protection from cold weather will be provided by materials such as burlap, chemical film, matting, mats, which are stacked on bars, which are supported by a crochet harness.
The construction of insulated ridges is carried out in early April. Sowing usually occurs between April 15-30, and seedlings are planted in the second half of May. It takes a month to prepare seedlings. Seedlings are obtained from insulated ridges, sowing seeds of beetroot, belonging to the early ripening varieties in them. Seeds must first be soaked or vernalized. The seeding rate in insulated ridges is about 10-15 g per 1 sq. Km. meter.
With the onset of stable warm weather, seedlings are moved to ridges, which at night should be covered with polyethylene, while there is still a risk of sudden cold weather. The usual rate per 1 square. a meter is about 40-45 plants in the seedling stage, in which 3-4 leaves have already formed. Growing with seedlings allows you to get a high-quality beet crop several weeks earlier.
How to plant beets (video)
Care for the culture needs to be thorough, it’s a rather capricious culture that loves that processing takes place on time. One of the main points is to prevent the appearance of soil crust. The threat posed by weeds is great, because the beets in the first stage, before the formation of 4-6 leaves, have slow growth rates, and weeds, in the absence of care, can practically strangle the shoots. So strict control over weeds, maintaining good soil moisture and optimal gas exchange are urgent tasks for a gardener growing beets.
To destroy weeds, they are sprayed with a solution of sodium nitrate, which is also useful for plants. The proportion of the solution is 2-3 g of saltpeter / 1 liter of water, this volume is enough for 1 square. meter. The weeds remaining after this treatment will have to be removed manually.
It is important to loosen the soil crust on time (4-6 cm deep), spray with tractor kerosene, (approx. 40-50 g of kerosene takes 1 square meter) and then the weed problem will be solved with minimal manual labor.
Watering and fertilizing beets
If it rains rarely, then beets may need 2 generous watering of 10-20 liters per 1 sq. meter, after which it is necessary to loosen the soil. Water obtained during irrigation will be beneficial if it penetrates to the roots, which lie at a depth of 15-20 cm.
The first top dressing is usually done when a second pair of leaflets begins to form in young plants. Dry fertilizers are introduced with simultaneous loosening of the aisle. Regarding the amount of fertilizer - per 1 sq. Km. meter will need approx. 8 g of potassium salt and 7-9 g of ammonium nitrate. The time of the second feeding comes shortly before the rows are closed, and loosening is indispensable here. Fertilizers per 1 square. a meter takes a little more - potash fertilizers will require 16-20 g and 10-15 g of nitrogen fertilizing.
Like other root crops, beets are sown more densely than is necessary for its normal development. Specially thickened sowing is a measure against poor seedling germination, spoilage and death due to bad weather. Thickly planted plants take away each other's growth resources, which leads to a poor crop and a decrease in the overall level of production. The roots of beets grown without thinning will be small and crooked.
Therefore, thinning is a primary measure.The first thinning is carried out when the first two full leaves appear on the plant. In a row, leave 2-3 cm between the plants. The second thinning should be done when 5-6 leaves have already developed on the plants, the gap between the plants is left at 4-6 cm. Finally, the third procedure is carried out until August 15, between the plants there are free spaces of 6-8 cm.
Be sure to monitor the thinning period, being late with this important procedure threatens to significantly degrade the quantity and quality of the crop. It is best to thin out after recent watering or heavy rain. Wet soil makes it easier to release the plants that are pulled out, neighboring plants will be less disturbed, and transplanted specimens will take root more easily in already moist ground.
Beet planting (video)
According to the rules, during the first thinning procedure, the weakest and non-viable plants are removed, and during the second and third thinning, the most developed, large, practically suitable for eating plants are transplanted, as well as those specimens that show signs of disease are removed.
Now, guided by our manual for growing beets, it will be easier for you to approach this matter, we wish you good harvests and be sure to inform us of your garden achievements.