Selecting Root Crop Seeds

By National Gardening Association Editors

When you open a seed catalog or visit a garden center, you may be boggled at the sight of all the different varieties for some of the root crops, particularly carrots and beets. As long as your seeds come from a reputable seed company, choose according to your own soil conditions and tastes.

Choose Your Varieties

For instance, if you have heavy clay soil, stick with short, stocky carrots or parsnips rather than long, tapered ones. If you have a very short or very long growing season, pick varieties that mature earlier or later than others. To enjoy your harvest through the winter, choose types that are good winter keepers or those that can or freeze well. The descriptions on the seed packets or in catalogs will help you select varieties with the characteristics you're looking for. It's also a good idea to check with your local county extension agent or a gardening neighbor for advice as to seed varieties well adapted to your area.

You'll develop preferences once you've tasted the results of each crop, but you're sure to have some success with any variety. So be adventurous and experiment a bit.

Other articles in this series:
1. History of Root Crops
2. All About Horseradish
3. Beet Varieties
4. Carrot Varieties
5. Radish Varieties
6. Celeriac - Lazy Man's Celery
7. Turnip and Rutabaga Varieties
8. Parsnip Varieties
9. All About Salsify
10. Selecting Root Crop Seeds ← you're on this article right now
11. Planning Your Root Crop Garden
12. How Root Crops Grow
13. Carrot Essentials
14. Parsnip Essentials
15. Radish Essentials
16. Turnip Essentials

This article is a part of our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Other Root Crops / Getting Started.

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