Beetroot farming in Nigeria is not yet popular but their awareness and usage is becoming popular of late. This vegetable is very easy to grow, their agronomy management is simple because it requires little attention. It is a lucrative plant to cultivate commercially since it has a long term season. Beetroot Is very rich in flavor, it has exotic natural flavor with vibrant colour. It is used in salad/juice preparation or cooked vegetable and it’s very delicious.
It is a biennial plant but is mostly grown as annual.vegetable. Harvested beetroot can be stored in a damp newspaper for about 2-3 months. The local Nigerian name for beetroot is not yet known largely because it is a foreign vegetable. But it is commonly called beet. Like othet crop farming, write beetroot farming plan before starting.
Beetroot farming is very profitable. You only invest little capital to yield plenty profits. The prices of beetroot differs according to location. For instance, the price of beetroot in Lagos is different from Jos. Many exotic crops are grown in Plateau including beetroot.
A bunch of beetroot leaves can be sold for #500, juice #500, stem #1,000 for 3 and same price for a few dried quantities.
Clear the land and make big beds such that each can accommodate 3-5 rows that are 30cm apart. Sandy loam soil is ideal for beetroot farming.
Planting of Beetroot
Beetroot can be planted in containers,sack bags as a vertical farming or directly into the field. It can also be grown indoors and under green house. Beetroot seeds are very tiny and appear in clusters, that is why several seedlings growing out next to each other.
It should be planted between March and April when the rains are just starting. It can be planted all your round in batches so you can have them for supply whenever they are needed. Spacing is about 5cm in rows for the seed and 25cm between rows.
Plant the seeds into the soil 2cm deep. The closer the planting distance the smaller beetroot that you will get. 3kg-5kg of seed is require for a hectare. The distance between one beetroot to another should be 60cm-70cm apart. It can be planted in a single, double or multiple rows.
Water beetroot immediately after planting. During raining season you may not need to water them except there is drought or shortage of rain. But during dry season you have to consistently water them because dryness may lead to woodiness. Be careful not to over water beetroot because it can split their roots.
Weeding in Beetroot Farming
Weeds should not be allowed in the farm. You can uproot them with your hands or use compost to suppress their growth.
Thinning in Beetroot Farming
When thinning do not throw them away keep the leaves for salad preparation.
How to Cultivate Beetroot in a Pot
Use a big pot that is at least 30cm in diameter. Place stone at the bottom of the pot to help in water drainage then fill the pot with soil. Sow the beetroot seeds on top of the pot and cover with compost manure lightly then water adequately. Growing beetroot in containers or pots will require frequent watering as they grow.
Fertilizer Application in Beetroot Farming
Use organic fertilizer to grow beetroot. The fertilizer should be applied round each plant. You can use more of manure containing nitrogen at the beginning such as chicken dung. Beetroot are good feeders and will require adequate nutrient to grow well.
Varieties of Beetroot
- Choggia Pink
- Burped Golden
- Detroit 6 Rubidus
It takes between 3 months for beetroot to mature after planting. Harvest them when the globes are about 5cm in diameter, like the size of golf ball. Pick them when taste is at its best. If the roots over stay in the soil before harvest they will not be good for harvest any more but the leaves will still be useful.
Yield in Beetroot Farming
Beetroot yield can be as much as 35 tons per hectare.
To store beetroot in a natural way is by lifting them and storing in boxes. Lift their roots very carefully cut off the foliage and leave 5cm behind. Don’t store any damaged root as they won’t survive storage. You can use the damage beetroot immediately. Put sand or leafmold in the box and store in a cool dry place.
The other way to store beetroot is by pickling them and storing them in jars. Pickling beetroot is very easy. Clean your beetroot, leaving a little of the stalk attached (to stop the juices running out), and then either boil or bake your beetroot. Boiling will take between 30-40 minutes depending on their size. If baking, wrap in foil either individually or all together and bake at 180ºC for about 1 hour.
Pests and Diseases
Birds are great pest to beetroot because they feed on the seedlings. To overcome this use horticultural fleece to cover them until the have grown larger and less appealing to birds.
Aphids attack leaves by making a cut. Hand pick the aphids and kill; easy and natural way to get rid of them. You can use need water or soap water.
Bolting is a challenge in beetroot farming. It is a situation where beetroot flowers before roots are formed. Bolting occurs mostly in dry season when the weather is extremely hot. It can also be as a result of delayed thinning. To avoid bolting plant variety that resist bolting example Bolthardy.
Uses of Beetroot
- For soup preparation
- Salad making
- Base for wine preparation due to high sugar content
Beetroot juice is gotten from the extraction of raw beetroot. It is rich in magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.
Beetroot juice Benefits
- Aids in reducing blood pressure
- Contains anti-oxidant and Nitrates,my hey help in blood circulation
- Prevents cell drainage
- Increase muscle strength
- Destroys free radicals
Beetroot juice should be taken by diluting it with; water, vegetables, or other fruit juice to reduce their strong effect or any possible side effects.
The best fruits to dilute beetroot juice are carrots,cucumber, pineapple or Apple. Not recommended for pregnant women. Any pregnant woman that wants to take beetroot juice should consult a doctor first.
The side effect of beetroot juice are; fever, rashes, cold, itches, diarrhea, kidney stone etc.
Beetroot farming is lucrative because it has various benefits and many people are going for it. You can buy beetroot in Shoprite and other big super malls or foreign vegetable sellers.
Contact us if you need fresh beetroots directly from the farm. Call: 08035965405
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