Kenyan beetroot farming
Beetroot is a root vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Chard, Harvard beet, European sugar beet, red garden beet, blood turnip, mangelwurzel, mangel, and spinach beet are some of its other names.
Beetroot, which is high in fiber, folate (Vitamin B9), manganese, iron, potassium, and Vitamin C, has been linked to reduced blood pressure and enhanced blood flow.
Markets, direct-to-consumer, juice parlors, and supermarkets all sell beetroot in Kenya.
In Kenya, beet juice is consumed.
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Beetroot has a lot of health benefits.
- Beets are high in vitamin C, which is beneficial to the bones, kidneys, pancreas, and liver, among other things.
- It also contains vitamin B, which helps to lower the risk of birth abnormalities.
- It is high in phytonutrients, which help to fight malignant cells.
- Chemicals found in the roots can be extracted and utilized to manufacture food colors.
- It also contains a lot of nutritional fiber.
Kenya’s Beetroot Varieties
The following are some of the beetroot types available in Kenya:
Cylindra– The roots of this cultivar are black and cylindrical. It has a lengthy shelf life and is notable for its resistance to bolts.
Bolt hardy has smooth skin and round roots. This type has a pleasant flavor, making it a popular choice in Kenya.
Chioggia pink– This type has a lot of demand in Kenya because of its beautiful red and white rings. It has spherical roots and is delicious and sensitive.
Burpee’s Golden contains yellow spherical roots that have a pleasant flavor.
Beetroot’s ecological requirements
Beetroot grows well in chilly weather. As long as there is enough water, you can grow throughout the year. It should be cultivated in full light for the best results.
The ideal temperature for this crop is between 15 and 250 degrees Celsius. It can withstand some heat and some cold. Produce of poor quality is a result of the hot weather.
Your crop will thrive in well-drained, loose, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0.
Beetroot yield per hectare
The average yield is determined by the available beetroot cultivars in Kenya as well as the ecological niche. It varies between 25 and 30 tonnes per hectare.
Beetroot Planting Soil Preparation
Beetroot can be grown in any soil type, but it will not thrive in extremely alkaline or acidic conditions. The pH of ideal soils should be between 6.3 and 7.5.
They thrive in fertile soils that have been amended with well-decomposed manure or compost.
Light, loose soils provide a favorable environment for root development. If your soil is compacted, use a fork jembe to loosen the top several inches of soil.
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Kenyan Beetroot Harvest
Seeds are used to plant beetroot. Beetroot seeds can be planted immediately in the field, or they can be started in a nursery or seedling tray first.
Beetroot should be spaced 30 to 40 cm apart in rows and 7 to 10 cm apart in plants. Beetroot seeds are planted at a rate of 10-15 kilos per hectare.
Sow the seeds in rows for direct sowing. For equal dispersal, mix the seed with sand. The beetroot seeds will germinate after 15 days.
Thin the seedlings to obtain the recommended interplant spacing when they reach a height of 3 to 5 centimeters. Remove weak seedlings during thinning to allow the strong seedlings to grow.
How much is a kilo of beetroot in Kenya?
Controlling Weeds in Beets
In beetroot farming, weed management should be done regularly. To control effectively, you can apply herbicides within rows or shallow hoeing. In Kenya, hand weeding is a popular technique.
Beetroot Aphids are little sap-sucking insects that are harmed by pests. They come in a variety of colors, including red, green-black, and white. Honeydew is excreted by their bodies, which causes sooty mold to grow on leaves. The leaves of your crops turn yellow and curl when they assault them.
When root-knot nematodes attack, you’ll observe galls forming on the roots. Your plants may turn yellow and lose their vigor. A month before planting, the first signs of assault usually show.
Leafhoppers are flying insects with a wedge form that feed by sucking sap. They have a yellowish-green color to them. You should keep an eye on your crop for early signs of infestation. Virus infections can be transferred by insects.
Leaf miners are a bug that feeds on the spaces between the leaves. They’re small whitish maggots that eat by leaving thin, white, winding trails on leaves. White spots on leaves and early leaf drops are signs of a severe infestation. Your yield will be substantially reduced as a result of this.
Diseases that damage beets
Mildew with a powdery appearance
On the lower surface of older leaves, early symptoms of infection can be seen. On the leaf surface, there appears to be little, circular, scattered white mycelium growth. As the infection progresses, it may infect all of the leaves, making both surfaces powdery white. The beetroot plant’s leaves may turn yellow and eventually fall off.
Small round patches on roots develop brown, expand, and rip the epidermis, indicating this disease. It’s a bacterial infection that’s causing the problem. Early indications of infection include elevated corky patches that are grey or white on the root surface.
Bacterial blight is a disease caused by bacteria.
On the edges of the leaves, this infection appears dark brown to black. Circular to irregular dots appear on the damaged leaves, which may turn yellow later. The spots may merge between the veins in severe cases, leaving a dry patch that may eventually fall off. The leaves that have been impacted have a ragged appearance.
It is recommended that you utilize disease-free seeds. Copper-based fungicides can potentially stop the bacterium from doing its job.
Beet Curly Top is a disease that affects beets.
The lower surface of the leaves is affected by this disease. Veins show early symptoms of infection, which swell as the infection progresses. The infected beets’ vascular tissues are discolored, and the rootlets are twisted and deformed. Beet leafhoppers are reported to carry the disease in Kenya.
Beetroot harvest and post-harvest
Beetroot harvesting in Kenya normally occurs nine weeks after sowing. Hands are frequently used to pull them. Mature roots are mechanically extracted in advanced farming. When the bulbs are approximately 1 inch in diameter and at their most sensitive, you can pick them. Apply the first pickings to the growing area to give the remaining beets room to expand.
Continue harvesting until the bulbs reach a diameter of around 3 inches. At this point, you must harvest all of the bulbs and store them properly.
After harvesting, the tops must be removed and the roots must be washed. The most common method of grading is by size. To extend the shelf life of the beets, place them in polythene bags to prevent water loss.