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Beets: Agricultural Technology, Preferences, Secrets Of Growing Beets
Beets: Agricultural Technology, Preferences, Secrets Of Growing Beets

Video: Beets: Agricultural Technology, Preferences, Secrets Of Growing Beets

Video: Beets: Agricultural Technology, Preferences, Secrets Of Growing Beets
Video: 5 TOP TIPS How to Grow a TON of Beetroot 2023, December

Beets are both tasty and healthy (part 1)


Oddly enough, but the usual beetroot is a direct relative of the quinoa that floods the gardens. And they used it as far back as 2000 BC. For example, the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians knew the beet as a vegetable and medicinal plant. Cultural cultivation of beets, according to scientists, began a little later, about 1000 years before our era.

One of the most ancient documents confirming this remarkable fact is the list of plants in the gardens of the Babylonian king Merodah-Baladan (722-711 BC), where there is a mention of beetroot. And about 500 BC, when in Europe only tops of beets were consumed in food, in Asia they already preferred its roots, which turned out to be both nourishing and tastier. Soon, Europeans also began to view beets mainly as a root crop. So, Theophrastus in his "Research on Plants" wrote that "… the root of beets is thick and fleshy, the taste is sweet and pleasant, which is why some people eat it raw".

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In Russia, beets have been known since about the X-XI centuries. Information about her is found in Svyatoslav's Izbornik. It is assumed that the beets began their glorious journey across Russia from the Kiev principality. From here it penetrated the Novgorod and Moscow lands, Poland and Lithuania. Beets, along with turnips and cabbage, became ubiquitous in Russia in the XIV century. This is evidenced by numerous entries in the monasteries' income and expense books, shop books and other sources. And in the 17th-18th centuries, the beetroot became completely "Russified", the Russians began to consider it a local plant.

Beet crops have moved far to the north - even the inhabitants of Kholmogory have successfully cultivated them. Much credit for the distribution and cultivation of beetroot in Russia belonged to the remarkable Russian agronomist-breeders Bolotov and Grachev. Ukraine has always been the true center of beet growing. This is evidenced, in particular, by a questionnaire survey conducted in 1766. And the Ukrainian cuisine itself is the best confirmation of this fact. After all, as N. F. Zolotnitsky wrote in 1911: "The famous Little Russian borscht was cooked back in the 16th century, and beetroot sliced with ginger seasoning was served to the boyars as a snack for appetite."

For a long time in Russia they used beet leaves and petioles for food, because the roots were too tough and tasteless. It is possible that from those times we have preserved the tradition of using beet leaves for salads and beetroot. Young beet tops are especially valuable, which can be obtained, if desired, quite early, when the body, after a cold and long winter, still lacks vitamin greens. The breeding improvement of beets began only in the XII century. For several centuries, the best, and therefore the most delicious, root vegetables have been sought out. Gradually, beets became the real king among vegetables.

Not only tasty, but also healthy

At all times and among different peoples, beets were considered an exclusively healing product. Even the "father of medicine" Hippocrates recognized it useful for the treatment of patients and included it in dozens of medicinal prescriptions. Cicero, Mir Pial, Virgil, Plutarch and many other thinkers of antiquity wrote about beets. Dioscoril and Avicenna left serious works on its medicinal properties. True, Avicenna, speaking highly of the medicinal benefits of beets, underestimated its nutritional properties. “It has little nutritional value, like other vegetables,” wrote the great physician of the Middle Ages.

Beetroot vegetables contain sucrose, pectins, fiber, proteins, organic acids. Beets are of great importance in providing the body with phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sodium, chlorine, cobalt, manganese, copper, zinc. In terms of calorie content, beetroot probably surpasses all other vegetables. And the number of diseases in which it undoubtedly helps is probably beyond counting.

Are "unpretentious" beets so unpretentious?

In the classic manuals of vegetable growers, it is noted that this root crop has a lot of advantages: unpretentiousness, high productivity, good preservation in winter, high dietary and medicinal properties. In other words, beets are officially recognized as one of the most unpretentious vegetables. True, as I noticed long ago, this statement clearly does not apply to the beets that are grown in our Ural gardens. The exception is the happy owners of houses in the villages. They, indeed, grow beets, but in gardening associations it is far from always. In other words, this most unpretentious vegetable turns out to be very whimsical. Look at the neighbors, it seems that the climate is the same, that on my site, that on the next, but this "unpretentious", according to experts, vegetable does not want to grow, and that's it. And the reasons for this, in general,very, very simple. I think, not only in our country, but also in other "difficult" regions, for example, in peat bogs.

The main reasons why not all beets grow

1. Beets are extremely partial to soil fertility. On vast village acres, the land was fertilized for many decades (this is now about 4-5 cows in the whole village, and before that animals were kept in any village house). Consequently, manure was applied regularly, and this, you yourself understand, means a lot.

2. In addition, beets cannot stand acidic soil at all, and, in fact, you cannot find another in our Urals (the same situation is observed in many other zones). On the other hand, there is nowhere in the village without a stove, and a very decent amount of ash was collected during the winter. Naturally, it was quite enough for introduction into the soil. So it turned out that in the villages over the years, the Ural podzol gradually turned into a completely fertile garden land. Therefore, I emphasize, the new owners of the village land were lucky in this regard, because their beets grow, as it were, by themselves.

3. At the same time, beets are incredibly light-requiring, and prefers to grow sparsely. However, it is important not to overdo it, because large roots are less tender and tasty. And on 18-20 acres in the village, as you understand, you can swing without problems, and it is not difficult to take away a sunny plot. As for the well-known 4-6 acres - then they try to plant it thicker, and on top of everything else, they often allocate not the most illuminated place for this light-loving vegetable. But in vain.

So, what does the "unpretentious" beet like?

1. Maximum light. The slightest shading leads to a sharp decrease in yield. Therefore, timely weeding and a fairly free arrangement of plants are necessary.

2. Loose fertile neutral soil … Therefore, even in autumn, it is necessary to carry out liming, if necessary. In general, it is better if liming has already been performed in previous years, since when lime is applied in the year of planting, a large number of root crops affected by scab grows. It turns out a paradox: on acidic soil, beets do not grow (this moment can be fixed very quickly - the leaf of such beets turns red, and the beets themselves practically do not grow; I am not talking about root crops anymore), but on freshly calcified soil it is affected by scab. But here you have to choose the lesser of two evils. Although if the ground is slightly acidic, then instead of lime, you can safely do with a decent amount of ash, and thereby avoid scab. In addition, it is necessary to carry out periodic loosening - about once a week or mulch the space around the plants, for example,stale sawdust.

3. It is desirable to provide more heat. In cold summers, when night temperatures are kept at 10-11 ° C, beets do not grow very well, and you have to resort to stimulating spraying.

4. Regular watering. It should be especially intense during the period of emergence and filling of root crops. True, waterlogging of the soil is also completely unacceptable.

5. Wide aisles and a decent distance between plants (it is these factors that largely determine the size of root crops). Between plants it is preferable to maintain 8-10 cm, and between rows - about 25-30 cm. In principle, it will be better if medium-sized beets grow. it is simply difficult to find a pot for cooking large beets. And the taste of medium root crops is somewhat softer. Therefore, it is possible to somewhat reduce the distance in a row between plants, but it is imperative to leave wide aisles.

With a thickened planting (narrow aisles), beets are sorely lacking in illumination, and they simply stop growing, as if "freezing" in one place. Moreover, it is almost useless to take measures to thin it out after the beets have stopped growing: a good harvest can no longer be obtained. If you are forced to choose an area for the beets where there is a shadow for some time during the day (this, in principle, is permissible), then plant the beets even more rarely, so that there is still enough light for each plant. Although, of course, this option is not particularly desirable.

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The basic principle of obtaining high yields of beets in the Urals and in other regions with difficult soil and climatic conditions

Remember the short Ural summer, when it had not yet arrived at the beginning of June, and had already ended in August. At the same time, it's no secret to anyone that thermophilic beets should not be planted in cold soil. It is necessary to wait until the soil at a depth of 10-12 cm warms up to at least 7-10 ° C. Moreover, beet seeds should never be kept in cold soil. otherwise, the vernalization processes will be completed in them, as a result of which the plants can go into the arrow. On the other hand, beets should not get frozen, because young plants can die already at –3… –4 ° С. And frosts in our country happen until mid-June (the same situation is in the North-West region). So it turns out that they usually take their time to plant beets.

As a matter of fact, in all guides on vegetable growing, it is also not advised to rush into planting it. But in vain. For example, I sow some beets at the beginning of April, and the rest at the end of the same month. Of course, I foresee a lot of criticism that I am acting contrary to all laws and recommendations, but, nevertheless, this is a fact.

As a result, the first harvest, if desired, can be eaten from mid-June, and individual specimens from early June. By the way, at this time the beets are unusually tender, although not as sweet as in the second half of summer.

Why did I choose this early landing option? Yes, all because of our short summer. Everyone in our family loves beets very much, and we eat them almost every day throughout the year. By mid-June, the beets of the last year's harvest already leave much to be desired in their taste, and we, naturally, are switching to a new harvest.