Sugar beet is an intensive crop, typical of the Po Valley and many Italian agricultural areas; sugar is obtained by refining the large fleshy roots produced by the plant, which above the ground appears as a large rosette of leaves, similar to huge spinach or chard. Sugar beet plants are fairly simple to grow, although they do need proper care so that they produce very large roots. Watering must be regular: for all the months of plant development the soil must not remain dry for long. Since most of the cultivation takes place in autumn or spring, watering is generally limited in rainy periods, while it is more intense, even daily, in the hottest and driest periods of the year. Irrigation interventions are to be avoided when the cultivation soil is already moist and fresh.
Sugar beet - Growing beet">Grow sugar beet
Sugar beet plants are generally grown starting from seeds, which are sown by broadcasting, directly at home. They are biennial plants, or rather multi-annual, even if the cultivation in Italy, and in the rest of the Mediterranean basin, takes place on an annual basis, interposing it with the wheat and always waiting a few years before re-sowing the Beets in the same plot. In southern Italy, sugar beets are sown in autumn, for harvesting in late spring, while in central and northern Italy they are sown in February-March, to harvest the roots in summer. Plants germinate even at temperatures close to 5 ° C, but they fear late frosts, which can completely ruin them or stimulate early flowering. They are planted in a medium-textured soil, well drained and rich in organic matter and mineral salts.
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Sugar beet is quite demanding in terms of nitrogen available within the soil. Before sowing the plants it is therefore necessary to enrich the soil with mature manure and granular fertilizer, which will dissolve during the months of cultivation. Generally we try not to fertilize during the vegetative period of the plants, even if it is advisable to keep the soil soft and free of weeds, which can compete with the Sugar beet in the absorption of nutrients from the soil. This is why periodic weeding operations are carried out, which eradicate the weeds and improve the drainage of the soil. In many cases it is advisable to practice selective weeding, both before sowing and during plant development.
Sugar Beet: Pests and Diseases
Sugar beets are grown intensively, in large plots in a sunny position; the climate of the area does not matter, because the day of sowing varies according to the place where it is practiced. The parasites that can attack Beetroot are particularly dangerous, for this reason preventive treatments are generally applied. The main one is against the spread of the altica, also called the Beet flea, and of some beetles, which can completely ruin the foliage, but above all gnaw the roots. In the event of excessive cold when the first shoots are present in the field, the foliage is completely ruined, therefore the main enemy of the Beets is the climate; in case of excessive rainfall, added to the cool climate, the Beets can be attacked by different types of mushrooms, which leads to a preventive use, in such conditions, of appropriate fungicides. Against virosis and bacteriosis we tend to use specially selected seeds.