The Q&A Archives: Root Crops

Question: I have planted my garden,bushes,flowers using 100% (free)compost. Everything grows exceptionally well, except radishes,beets,carrots or any garden root.They dont grow at all. Tomatoes grow superbly. Peppers too. Kalarabi excellent.I know that I have a soil imbalance and some tell me to mix it with peat moss which I did last week. But how much and is peat moss enough ? Can you help ?

Answer: Root crops don't mind compost or peat moss but they do prefer free draining soils. By incorporating copious amounts of organic matter you have built rich garden loam which is fine for most plants, but not so much for root vegetables. This is because your loamy soil holds too much moisture for their liking and they don't like the structure of the soil. Try incorporating some builder's sand into the area where you want to grow your root crops. This will help the soil drain well and give the roots of your plants something to grow through. I'd plant the root crops along the edges of the garden and incorporate at least one third by volume of sand to garden loam. By keeping the sandy soil along the edges for your root crops you will still have plenty of room in your rich garden loam for the rest of your veggies. Enjoy your garden!

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