Native to the Mediterranean and a few European regions, beets, in their entirety, including their dark red roots and leafy tops, are edible. These plants are also rich in nutrients and vitamins while being versatile to the point that you can prepare several delicious dishes from them. These are reasons enough to make beets a part of your small garden.
If you plan to grow beets, then note that they require well-drained and loose soil. As root crops, you also need to fertilize beets as a means of meeting their nutritional needs.
Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Beets
What kind of fertilizer will work well for beets? Here are some key points and factors you have to consider during your search for the perfect one:
The best beet fertilizer is one that has higher phosphate and potassium and only minimal nitrogen. Check out the 3-number code indicated in a fertilizer’s package. This is where you will get the idea of how much nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium are inside the fertilizer.
Pick one with high phosphate and potassium percentage and low nitrogen percentage. The reason is that beets are considered roof vegetables that naturally grow beneath the soil’s surface. Since phosphate and potassium stimulate more growth and development for the roots, the beets will most likely need more of these nutrients.
You should also decide beforehand what type of fertilizer you will use. Is it the granular or the liquid fertilizer? The granular type of fertilizer is popular due to its long lifespan. It is also easy to use. This type is also categorized into two – the slow-time release formula and the fast-release formula. The slow-release can fertilize the beets for around 2 to 6 months. This specific duration will vary depending on water and heat.
The fast-release formula supports the quick release of nutrients. This makes this product effective during cold weather. As for the liquid fertilizer, take note that it is often available in the form of concentrated liquid. You can apply it with the help of a spray bottle or hose and nozzle.
Organic or Synthetic
You should also decide whether you should choose to use an organic fertilizer or a synthetic fertilizer. The organic fertilizer is made using organisms that lived once as well as their byproducts. You can apply them using rakes, fertilizer spreader, or your hand. What’s great about organic fertilizer is that it is natural, which also slowly breaks down when it releases nitrogen.
Synthetic fertilizers, on the other hand, are those that go through chemical manufacturing. They are more of engineered fertilizers made specifically to guarantee the quick and immediate release of nutrients. They do so by quickly penetrating the soil.
When and How to Fertilize?
When fertilizing beet plants, remember how important it is to maintain the proper pH level of the soil. In that case, it is necessary for the soil pH to be around 6.0 to 6.8 as it is needed by the beets for optimum and proper growth. Beets are also capable of tolerating a bit higher pH but it is still preferable to avoid going beyond 7.0.
Do a soil test so you will know if the pH level is right before planting. Make some adjustments if necessary. Broadcast the chosen fertilizer a week before planting. Use around three pounds of your chosen product to fertilize the beets. Also, side-dress the beets once or thrice with around three ounces of your chosen formula.
You may need to increase the amount of fertilizer applied if you are living in an area that has more chances of rain. If the soil lacks potassium, then you may also need to side-dress it with fertilizer that has high potassium.