2 to 11
0.25 to 3.00 feet
0.25 to 3.00 feet
|Everything starts with preparing the area to plant. Building a raised bed will provide a great basic starting point as root crops need well-drained, loose soil to grow and expand their roots. The soil in raised beds warms up faster and drains faster and because you shouldn’t be stomping around on the soil, it should stay loose and crumbly. The bed should be at least 8 inches deep and between 24 and 30 inches wide. Avoid using treated lumber.
The soil should be free of sticks, rocks, clumps of clay or anything that would cause the soil to not be loose and crumbly. Because root crops form large roots, they don’t transplant well and the seed should be sown directly into the garden.
Root crops typically do not need a lot of fertilizer but when you do fertilize them, make sure the fertilizer is not a high nitrogen fertilizer as this will make the tops grow more than the roots. The fertilizer should be higher in phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. The phosphorous and potassium are key to good root formation. Add a couple of inches of finished compost to the top of the soil before planting. Do not add fresh manure as it is high in soluble nitrogen.
Make sure you know the typical germination time for your root crop to ensure you are sowing the seeds at the correct time to provide enough time for your crop to mature. Radishes germinate quickly and grow to maturity with 30 days while other crops such as parsnips take 100 days or more to mature.
Root crops typically germinate best in soil that is between 50° and 60° F. Summer crops should be sown two weeks before the last frost. By starting early, and timing your plantings you can continue planting some crops through the season to extend your harvest.
Thin is in for root crops. Since root crops need room to grow, as the seeds germinate and poke their heads out, you will need to think the plants. Not thinning enough or early enough will cause what you harvest to be small. Thin the newly germinated plants to 2 inches apart and then thin them again in a few weeks. Think about the type of vegetable and the typical size of that vegetable to decide how far apart they should be thinned to.
beds weeded. Weeding is not everyone’s favorite gardening past time but keeping the weeds out of your root crop beds will help to ensure a much better harvest. As for watering, giving root crops a deep watering a couple times a week is better that a quick shallow water every day. And remember, when feeding your root crop, make sure the fertilizer is not high in nitrogen.
What’s left? Pick, eat and enjoy. Happy gardening.
|2021||Fall||Beets, Detroit Dark Red|
|2021||Fall||Purple Fingerling Potatoes|
|2021||Fall||Yellow Fingerling Potatoes|
|Information on this page is from Missouri Botanical Gardens,
Dave’s Garden, All things Plants, Texas Superstar or Aggie Horticulture
This page last updated or reviewed