Mangel-wurzel (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. alba)

Mangel-wurzel (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. alba) is a cultivated species derived from Beta vulgaris, in the saltbush family Chenopodiaceae. It is also known as Mangold wurzel, mangold, yellow mangel, mangel beet, field beet, and fodder beet. Mangel-wurzel is originally German. The term mangel or mangold is referring to the silverbeet-like leaves, and wurzel means 'root'.

Mangel-wurzel is a large, white, yellow, or orange-yellow swollen root cultivated as a fodder crop for feeding livestock. It is primarily cultivated for cattle, pig, and other livestock, although it can be eaten by human, especialy when the plant is still young. The leaves and roots are edible. The leaves can be lightly steamed for salads, or lightly boiled as a vegetable. The roots are best eaten freshly picked, as they will turn rubbery if stored in the fridge for more than a week. The roots are prepared boiled like potato for serving diced, mashed or add in sweet curries.

Mangel-wurzel grows well in full sun, well-composted and well-drained soil. It needs regular watering and produces the best and heavieast crops in a sheltered spot with mild to warm conditions. Mangel-wurzel can tolerate salty coastal breezes, but unsuitable for tropical climates as it will rot in hot and humid conditions and wet soils.

Propagation is by seeds. Each seed is an aggregate seed, which germinates to make clusters of seedlings. It takes about five months to grow good-sized mangel-wurzel. Mangel-wurzel leaves are a good indicator of potassium deficiency in soil. If the leaves are yellow but the veins remain green, correct the soil condition by adding liquid potash. Mangel-wurzel may require supplementary potassium (aka potash) for optimum yields, texture and flavor.

Mangel-wurzel (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. alba)Mangel-wurzel (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. alba)
Author: MarkusHagenlocher (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

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