root crops - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, Fl
Question by kaygfox
January 22, 2011
I have planted carrotts, beets & onions in both spring and fall gardens with little success. The plants are mutated and small. I have tried both raised garden and in ground plantings. How can I be more successful in my spring plantings?
Thank you

jacksonville Fl


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Answer from NGA
January 22, 2011

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Root vegetables, like above-ground vegetables, need rich, moist soil, and plenty of sunshine to thrive. The problem may be poor soil, lack of nutrients, lack of water, or inadequate sunshine. If your raised bed is in a sunny site, you can grow carrots, onions and beets. To ensure success with your root crops, amend the soil by spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the top and digging it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. Use aged compost, leaf mold, peat moss or aged manure. Based upon your description of the unsuccessful crops, I'd guess your soil is hard and compact. If that's the case, add even more organic material, and some sand, too. Do whatever you can to loosen the soil and make it easier for the roots to penetrate a good 8-10 inches. The organic matter will help the soil retain moisture and will release nutrients to the plant roots as it decomposes. After planting, keep the soil evenly moist by supplying water once or twice a week. Make sure you apply enough water to thoroughly wet the entire root area. To check, dig down after watering to see how far the moisture has penetrated. Following the above guidelines should result in a great harvest of carrots, beets and onions.

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