Grow red beet

How to irrigate

An undemanding vegetable that adapts to any type of soil, however, the beetroot has a great need for moisture. Consequently, at least in the germination phase, watering must be abundant to allow the soil to always remain moist and the roots to develop. Later, in the growth phase, it will be possible to reduce watering to a normal level, while trying to maintain a regular frequency. This is because a little water would cause the leaves to turn yellow quickly, also ruining the roots that would become woody. On the contrary, abundant irrigation during the growth phase would cause an excessive growth of the leaf part. A useful tip can be mulching the soil, in order to save on watering.

How to cultivate

Typical vegetable of Europe and North Africa, it easily adapts to the Italian and Mediterranean climate in general. Before sowing it is advisable to spread some compost on the ground, and this is one of the few precautions to follow. Taking into account the specific climatic conditions, it can be sown from the beginning of April to mid-July if the temperatures are not too excessive, preferably with an interval of fifteen days. In this way, the last vegetables will be harvested in late autumn. Another tip, to save work it is preferable to sow directly in the open field, taking care to leave about 10 cm of space between seed and seed and 30 cm between row and row. Cultivation in a seedbed is possible,

When to fertilize

If in theory it prefers a slightly acidic environment, beetroot can be grown in both light and heavy soils. Due to its high adaptability, it is a vegetable that does not need a lot of fertilization, on the contrary it can grow very well with the residual one from previous crops. As mentioned, a light composting of the soil before sowing is still recommended, but not essential. Better not to use too much manure, even if it is often used: its effects on the soil are good, but it could ruin the delicate flavor of the beet. For supplementary fertilization, wood ash or comfrey are excellent as they add a high amount of potassium, thus favoring root formation and development.

Growing beetroot: Diseases and possible remedies

The most dangerous disease for beetroot is beet cercosporiosis, a leaf disease that leads to yield drops of up to 50%. It manifests itself with small notches that appear first on the leaves, then widen becoming larger and circular in shape. To combat it, a treatment based on copper oxychloride or the use of Bordeaux mixture is recommended. On the other hand, the white sickness of the chard causes a mold with a consistency similar to flour that spreads on the foliage, to be contrasted with micronized sulfur. Another constant danger for this vegetable is parasites. Among the most common are the eels, which cause a poor development of roots and leaves. To prevent it, appropriate rotations and associations with plants such as calendula can be applied. Another danger is the miner fly, which digs tunnels at inside of the leaves and causes infections. To combat it, use wormwood extract or quassium wood decoction. Like other plants in the garden, pay attention also to the beetle, the altica, the red spider.

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