Let us clarify right away that we will be talking about beetroot or beetroot (as it is called in Ukraine and some Russian regions). Fodder beets are used to feed animals, so farmers and gardeners who have subsidiary plots and livestock are usually involved in their cultivation..
The beet is a two-year-old plant that flowers and gives seeds in the second year. Moreover, the seeds themselves from a hard small fruit are almost impossible to get. It is with such glomeruli that the planting occurs.
When choosing a site for planting beet seeds, it is better to choose the beds where cucumbers, cabbage and potatoes grew last year. Beets, unlike carrots, like ash more and do not tolerate acidic soils. Therefore, before planting on the site, it is advisable to add ash, and then repeat this procedure a couple of times during the growing season of the plant. Can also be used to neutralize acidic soil with fluff.
For beets, you can choose just a few beds next to cucumbers and a plot with potatoes, the plant will perceive such a neighborhood well. You can plant seeds in the winter to get an early harvest of root crops in June. But usually beets are sown in spring, at the beginning of May, sometimes, in case of warm winter and early spring, at the end of April..
To accelerate germination, seeds can be germinated at home by soaking them for several days in a wet cloth and holding them in a warm place. At home, you can also pre-grow beet seedlings in order to plant ready-made plants on the beds after the end of the spring frost. Remember that there are several beet seeds in one ball, that is, you will have to thin out. If planting occurs in the spring, then each ball with seeds deepens into the ground by two to three centimeters. When planting for the winter, you should deepen the seeds into the soil by three to four centimeters. In this case, winter crops should be additionally mulched..
Usually, a distance of 15-20 cm is left between the grooves for beet seeds. The norm is the use of 20 g of seeds per 10 m2 plot. Experienced gardeners advise, in the event of planting beet seedlings, pinch it by a quarter or a third, so that the “head” is larger.
You will have to thin out the beets twice: when two true leaves appear, and then five leaves. With the second thinning, the root crop should already reach three centimeters in diameter. In the first thinning, a distance of four centimeters is left between the shoots, the second time – no less than six centimeters. It is best to thin out the beets in cloudy weather, after watering the garden bed so that the roots pull out freely.
At the first stage of beet growing, it is very important to fight weeds in time, which can simply “strangle” still weak sprouts. The root crop also does not like the crust on the soil, so it should be loosened regularly, carefully so as not to damage the sprouts. For the same reason, it is better to break through the weeds in the beet bed manually..
Beets love good watering. In order for the water to benefit the plant, it must penetrate to the roots, that is, to a depth of about 15 cm.Therefore, in the absence of rain, it will have to be watered abundantly, at least two or three buckets of water per square meter of planting. Watering should be stopped about two weeks before harvest.
Interesting advice from experienced gardeners – to make the beets sweeter, they should be watered with salt water twice. Only a spoonful of salt is added to a bucket of water, and watering occurs as soon as the root crop begins to round out and a month before harvest.
The introduction of ammonium nitrate and potassium salt will help to increase the yield of beets. You can carry out the procedure for applying dry fertilizers twice: when the first true leaves are formed and before closing the rows. Before fertilizing, be sure to loosen the soil.
Beets are harvested before the first autumn frosts. However, already in the summer, as the plants grow, you can use the first young root crops that have reached an average diameter of seven centimeters. In summer, you can also use young tops, which are highly valued by nutritionists and gourmets. Botvinnik – you know such a first course? And this is just one example of the use of beet tops, in which there are even more nutrients than in the root crop itself..
It is better to pick the beets out of the ground with a pitchfork and carefully pull them out by hand. The leaves are cut off with a sharp knife or broken off, leaving about a centimeter of petioles. Table beets are perfectly stored in a basement box throughout the winter, so they are usually not canned, using only fresh root vegetables.
Before storing, root crops must be dried and sorted out. Sand can be added to the box with beets, sprinkled with sawdust or shavings.
As for the use of beets, it seems that everything depends only on the imagination of the cook. Soups, borscht, all kinds of salads, casseroles, side dishes, gravy, marinade – wherever bright and tasty beets are not used.
You can name only two salads incredibly popular in Russia – vinaigrette and “Herring under a fur coat”, in order to understand that we cannot do without beets on our table! Nowadays, Korean beets are also becoming more and more popular, which are made by analogy with carrots. And those who have problems with the level of hemoglobin in the blood are advised to drink fresh beet juice..