Winner of beetroot growing competition to be revealed at Agfest

After the success of last year’s event the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture’s vegetable growing competition is back, with students hoping to grow the biggest beetroots.

This year 12 Tasmanian schools are participating in the ‘Let it Grow’ vegetable growing competition, up from seven the year before.

The competition is designed to create excitement and generate interest about a career in agriculture.

This year students have been putting their agricultural science skills into practice with the aim of growing beetroots during a Tasmanian battle of the beets.

Schools from throughout the state have spent the last two-and-a-half months growing the vegetables from seeds that were donated by Tasmanian small business Seed Freaks.

The entries will be judged at a weigh-in ceremony Thursday 2 May at Agfest.

St Mary’s District School won the inaugural competition last year and are aiming to beet their competitors again this year.

Teacher Will Innis says the students have learnt some important skills.

“The TIA Let it Grow competition is a great opportunity for students to go through the whole growing process, from soil preparation and seed propagation to harvest, with the goal of growing the biggest vegetable possible!” Mr Innis said.

“We hope to go back-to-back and win again this year.

“This year we prepared our garden bed by creating a healthy worm environment through a Subpod composting system, which we own through last year’s competition.

“We are protecting our plants from pests using netting and students regularly weed to ensure our beetroot are getting maximum access to nutrients.”

The Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Professor Mike Rose, said it’s a great opportunity to get students interested in agriculture.

“Students are able to see the fruits of their labour,” he said.

“This is a great way to get students involved and hopefully it will generate interest in a career in agriculture. There’s so many wonderful opportunities in the agricultural field in Tasmania.”

The school entry that produces the largest beetroot will win the school a Subpod grow pack valued at over $500 that includes a worm farm, garden bed, aerator and worm mats and a workshop at their school with one of TIA’s soil scientists.

Agfest patrons are also encouraged to take a look at other TIA activities in the University of Tasmania pavilion. There will be a soil activity, insects under a microscope and an activity called ‘pot a pollinator’ where people can take home a potted seed for bees.

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