IMPROVING GROWTH AND YIELDS OF BEETROOT THROUGH THE USE OF VERMICOMPOST
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris var. crassa L.) is one of the vegetable that is gaining prominence in Kenya due to its high nutritive and medicinal value. While the use of organic fertilizers has been reported to improve growth and yield of crops, majority of beetroot growers mostly use inorganic fertilizers. The result of this has been an increase in cost of production, high levels of residues in soil and environmental pollution. A study was done in the Horticulture Research and Teaching Field, Egerton University to address some of these problems, with the main objective of determining the effects of different application rates of vermicompost (0, 5, 10, 20 and 30t/ha) and a positive control (NPK 17: 17: 17) on growth and yield of beetroot. Growth variables investigated were leaf number (no./plant), plant height (cm), and Leaf Area Index (LAI), while yield variables included root yield, leaf yield and harvest index. Based on the results, vermicompost application at the rate of 30 t/ha increased the plant growth and productivity and therefore can be recommended in the organic production of beetroot.
Key words: Beetroot, Vermicompost , Growth and Yield , Organic production
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