Sugar Beets
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State Vegtable

State Vegtable | Sugar Beets | Scoop.it
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The sugar beet was named the historic state vegetable in the 2002 General Session of the Utah State Legislature, S.B. Bill 136. Senator Bill Wright, R-Elberta, sponsored the measure and it was supported by the students of Realms of Inquiry school of Salt Lake City (Utah Code). The Spanish Sweet Onion is the Utah State Vegetable.

There was stiff competition at the Capitol from the Realms of Inquiry School students, supported by Rep. Jackie Biskupski, who backed the sugar beet as Utah's vegetable. A compromise was reached; plans to designate one or the other was merged into a single bill and the sugar beet was declared the historical state vegetable and the Spanish sweet onion the contemporary state vegetable. 

Utah achieved prominence in nineteenth-century America for its efforts to produce sugar from sugar beets; and the production of beet sugar contributed substantially to Utah's economy for almost one hundred years. A first bold attempt was made in the early 1850s but the factory never quite managed to solve the chemical problems of converting beets grown in alkali soil into granulated sugar. By the 1980s there were no beet sugar factories in Utah. The Utah History Encyclopedia has a thorough history of the sugar industry in Utah. 

The Lehi factory of the Utah Sugar Company was the first successful beet sugar factory in the Mountain West, the first to use beets grown by irrigation, the first to have a systematic program for producing its own beet seed, the first to use American-made machinery, the first to use the "osmose process" of reprocessing molasses, and the first to build auxiliary cutting stations. This factory also served as a training base for many of the technical leaders of the sugar beet industry of the United States.

The onset of World War I and the expansion of sugar beet acreage brought about a shortage of laborers. The Utah-Idaho Sugar Company sought workers outside of the United States and hired families from Juarez, Mexico to work the fields in the Garland area. The people, their housing, schools, and social life are described in Mexican Families and the Sugar Industry in Garland.

 
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Sugar Beet Fields

Sugar Beet Fields | Sugar Beets | Scoop.it
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Sugar Beets

The sugar beet has a conical, white, fleshy root (a taproot) with a flat crown. The plant consists of the root and a rosette of leaves. Sugar is formed through a process of photosynthesis in the leaves, and it is then stored in the root.

The root of the beet contains 75% water, about 20% sugar and 5% pulp [6] (the exact sugar contents can vary between 12 and 21% of sugar, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions). Sugar is the primary value of sugar beet as a cash crop. The pulp, insoluble in water and mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin, is used in animal feed. The byproducts of the sugar beet crop, such as pulp and molasses, add another 10% to the value of the harvest.[5]

Sugar beets grow exclusively in the temperate zone, in contrast to sugarcane, which grows exclusively in the tropical and subtropical zones. The average weight of sugar beet ranges between 0.5 to 1 kilogram (1.1 to 2.2 lb). Sugar beet foliage has a rich, brilliant green color and grows to a height of about 35 centimetres (14 in). The leaves are numerous and broad and grow in a tuft from the crown of the beet, which is usually level with or just above the ground surface.[7]

History [edit] 

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How to Grow Sugar Beets

How to Grow Sugar Beets | Sugar Beets | Scoop.it
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Sugar beet is a popular plant used in the commercial production of sugar, as the root contains a high concentration of sucrose. Growing sugar beets is not that difficult, especially since they can grow in a variety of climates and soils. Sugar beets are considered one of the healthiest natural foods, offering you protein, essential minerals and vitamins. Sugar beets also contain fiber, and are therefore very useful in treating constipation. They even contain antioxidants, which help your body ward off disease. Eating sugar beets regularly will greatly improve your energy level [source: Cattanach, Dexter, Oplinger]. So let's trek down to the garden and start planting sugar beets.

Till the soil about two inches (5 centimeters) down and remove any rocks. Tilling is very important for the growth of sugar beets, and should be done in early spring, when the threat of frost is over. Don't till the soil more than a month before planting, or the soil will get too dry.Plant sugar beet seeds about 1½ inches (3.8 centimeters) deep in the soil. Don't plant them too close to each other, as the roots can get intertwined. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil. When weeding around the beets, be careful, as the roots of the sugar beets are shallow and you can easily damage them.Water your sugar beet plants often, as they are heavy drinkers. However, you must also be careful not to over water them, or they will rot.Watch for sprouts to emerge from the soil. Germination will occur approximately 15 days after planting. Your sugar beets will be ready for harvest in the fall [source: Michigan Sugar].Dig up your sugar beets when they measure about two inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. If the beets are allowed to grow larger, they'll become fibrous and lose their flavor. An early harvest is vital if beets are to retain their sweet flavor [source: University of Illinois].
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Sugar Beets

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