Organic farming plays an important role in bringing up a healthy generation by providing good quality food products with high level of nutrients. People are fed up eating conventional food products which uses chemicals fertilizers, manure and pesticides to nurture the yields. These chemicals can cause harm to humans and reduces the life span. The conventional farming technique is also harmful for the environment and it destroys the balance between nature and living organisms.
Here we are looking at the ways to cultivate organic beetroot.
Beetroot is an essential vegetable which is a part of our food culture. Beetroot comes under the category of root vegetables and are also known as garden beet, red beet or table beet. The scientific name of beetroot is Beta Vulgaris. Beetroot is rich with fibre and other nutrients like folate, iron, manganese, potassium and vitamin C.
The major health benefit of beetroot cultivated in organic way is that it improves blood flow and decreases blood pressure. Beetroot comes in different colors like dark purple, red, yellow, white and pink. The antioxidants present in beetroot helps to prevent cancer and heart related problems
Major organic beetroot varieties cultivated in India are:
- Crimson globe
- Detroit dark red
- Early wonder
- Carcosby Egyptian
The preferred climate for beetroot cultivation is cold climate. But still they are grown round the year. The cold temperature helps the plant to produce superior quality roots. The plant gives yield in hot conditions, but the color, texture and quality can be attained only in cold conditions.
Beetroots are grown in every soil type but the preferred one are loose loamy sandy soil which is well drained and has the presence of humus in it. Heavy soil is not preferred for beetroot cultivation. For effective yields, the pH range of the soil should be between 6.3-7.5
Beetroot propagation is done using seeds. Seeds are sown inside pits which are 1.5 cm in depth and each seeds are maintained a distance of 7cm. The correct time to sow seeds are Mid-April or Mid-July. After proper irrigation, seedlings start to sprout after 15 days. A mature beetroot plant can reach a height of 9 cm.
According to the reports, one tone of beetroots removes 2kg of Nitrogen, 4 kg of Potash and 4 kg of Potassium from the soil. So, it is necessary to provide the soil with these lost nutrients. Per hectare, 50-70 kg of Nitrogen, 100-120 kg of Potash and 60-80 kg of potassium is applied to the soil.
Before planting, the soil is ploughed and mixed with compost and farmyard manure to enhance the sprouting and in the further growth.
Beetroot plants lack Boron. So necessary Boric acid or Borax is applied to the soil.
During germination, the seeds need plenty of water. Once the plant becomes mature, irrigation is done at proper intervals. Over irrigation in beetroot plant improves the growth of leaves and reduces the growth of roots making them vulnerable to bolting.
Weeds pose a major threat to beetroot plants. They consume every nutrient supplied to the beetroot crops. Commonly weeds are removed by hand weeding.
Beetroot crops are less affected by pests. The major disease which affects beetroot crops are leaf spots. It can be easily recognizable. The condition is severe during wet conditions. Planting rotation crops helps to suppress leaf spot to an extent. In rare cases Root-knot nematodes creates inflammation in the roots. Sometimes the affected leaves are removed to reduce the spreading.
Harvesting of beetroot is carried out after nine weeks of sowing the seeds. Initial beetroot bulbs are 2.5 cm in diameter. They will be very tender and can be used for salads. The harvesting process is carried out until the beetroot reaches 8 cm diameter which are then stored.