Beetroot farming in Kenya is not entirely popular as many individuals are not familiar with this fruit variety. Beetroots develop just like onions and are typically known by their scientific expression as Beta Vulgaris.
Beetroots are consistently associated with many health advantages such as the source of Potassium, Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, iron, & lastly, folate (vitamin B9).
In addition to vitamin accessories, beetroots can be eaten raw in puddings, cooked in broth/drunk in cocktails and fruit juices. Beetroot leaves are also palatable, like spinach.
So, without frittering any more time talking about beetroot’s health benefits. How concerning we learn how to farm, harvest, & market it.
Beetroot Farming In Kenya: Soil Requirement
Beta Vulgaris accomplishes well in soils with a PH of 5.8-8.0. And as expected, it is always suggested to taste your soil for acidity levels if you plan on producing any crop.
Too many acid statuses in the soil always affect most crops’ development by causing a deficiency of important nutrients.
Beetroot seeds are sown instantly in the fields as there is no requirement for a seedbed. We, therefore, recommend preparing and tilling your area to a depth of 15 to 20cm. You are also urged to remove dirt and other undesirable twigs, shrubs, decaying plants, & tree stumps.
Prepare the soil in the pastureland by mixing it with compost manure and making terraces or fields by forming ridges.
Then lift the ridges upwards to maintain good air circulation and transport water the right way. Finally, get rid of dirt, including decaying plants.
Beetroot Farming In Kenya Planting
Once the field is dirt-free, begin preparing ridges 1m apart by adding cow dung manure & mixing well with the soil. Next, create rows 20 to 25cm apart on top of the seams. Start sowing the seeds to a depth of 1 to 2.5cm deep and 10cm separated in the rows created.
Next, cover the grains with light soil and dry mulching to contain your field. If there is not sufficiently rainfall, you’ll require to water the area twice a day, that is, morning & evening. Beetroots take about 5 to 12 days to germinate.
I would suggest using cow dung manure every 7 days and watering for fertilizer application. You can also apply industrial fertilizer NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) in a satisfactory ratio.
Pests and Diseases Control
Let us look at some of Kenya’s numerous common pests & diseases that affect beetroot agribusiness.
Aphids come in various colors and sizes. For instance, some have a dark brown color while some are green.
Aphids are 2mm long & love sitting underneath the leaves while sucking and relishing the leaf tissue’s fluids. This manners, in turn, will lead to sheet twitching and drying.
Plant rust renders the crop to have tiny orange/ red-brown patches. This type of disease doesn’t significantly impact the plant and can be ignored most of the time.
The most typical symptoms of this disease are when the leaf turns yellow &turns fully brown. But then again, you can also see a grey color under the edge of the plant.
A good farmer can harvest between 1000 and 1500kg of beetroots for an acre of land. Use your hands to draw the beetroots by the leaves from the ground.