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sheeshshe
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I want to be successful at root crops.

can someone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong here? I've tried beets and radishes a few times and nothing. no radishes produce. no beets. I wonder if the soil where I put them wasn't fertile enough? I tried carrots last year and those just ended up getting taken over by weeds. I tried onions but it ended up that I had the wrong type of onions for my climate. they made 1" bulbs. I REALLY want to grow beets bad. and radishes bad as well. I like beets and everyone here LOVES radishes. they just do not grow!

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lorax
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Maybe try sprinkling them around the garden? I've found that beets and corn do best close to tomato plants (and the tomatoes thrive too, because the roots go right on down and funnel water to the 'maters), and that radishes, neeps (turnips), and rutebaga are best closer to the lettuce patch for some reason.

Beets and carrots, in particular, love lots of sunshine (hence the reccomendation to plant near tomatoes), whereas neeps, radishes, and rutebaga don't tolerate the heat as well (just like lettuces.)

The other thing to bear in mind is that root crops generally have to be direct-sown where you want them to appear, because they don't take kindly to being transplanted.

Which varieties were you growing this season, if I may ask? I've found that the best performers I've ever grown were the following:

Carrots: the "French" varieties, like Scarlet Nantes and Chandonay (sp?)
Beets: Detroit Dark Red, hands down.
Radishes: Cherry Belle
Neeps: Laurentian

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jal_ut
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Does your plot get plenty of sunshine? Is there tree roots under your plot? Tree roots suck up the water and nutrients. Veggies don't compete very well. Full sun will be a plus too.

OK, carrots, turnips, and onions can be planted 2 weeks before your average last frost date in the spring. Radishes on that date and beets a week after that date. It is well to get these varieties in early for best production. They like cool weather.

Cherry Belle radish for me too. I plant each seed one at a time and space them 2 inches.

Beets one seed at a time and space them 3 inches. Later you will still need to thin them because that crinkly thing you plant is not a seed it is a capsule with several seed in it. Thin to one in each spot.

Turnips, plant individually and space 3 inches.

Carrots I sprinkle in a furrow, sparingly. They will need to be thinned too.

Thinning or planting with correct spacing is very important. The plants that have space for roots, and leaves to collect sunshine will make a good root early. If they are crowded they may never make a good root.

I know it takes a little time to plant the seed individually, but it is worth it when you see how well they do. Thinning is work too!

Here I can plant radish about any time all summer. They need to be kept damp though. If they dry out they will bolt.

In your area plant long day onions. Seed or sets should work.

Have a great garden.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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sheeshshe
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OK, I've been planting in full sun. Not sure if there are tree roots under it or not? My guess is probably so since the plot has trees all around it. The radishes I've been planting the seeds individually and 2 or 3 inches apart. I've tried the cherry belle and others. thinking that it is because it was a bad variety I tried different ones. I've planted as soon as the ground was workable. I've tried a little later, I've tried late in the season, fall. you name it I've tried it. I keep saying, I'm nto going to try again its a waste of time, but I think I'm a bit determined to make it work! One of my neighbors down the street doesn't have a problem with it. she grows radishes and beets just fine. so it must be something in my soil?? her plot is surrounded by trees as well.

I've tried beets a few times as well. I do thin them once they sprout since they make a few plants out of each of the crinkly things. I've spaced them all far apart as well. I tell ya. something wrong. maybe planting next to tomatoes will be the answer??

the onions I plante short day because I didn't know any better LOL! I planted those on the other side of the garden. maybe there just ins't enough nutrients on that side of the garden or something.


I will def try again and with those specific varieties. if that doesn't work then I seriously don't know what on earth I'm doing wrong! I have no issue growing tomatoes and squash or green beans.

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applestar
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Try them in about 25~30% sand+25~30% compost+soil mix raised beds with extra kelp and rock phosphate. I understand onions need more nitrogen as well since the bulb is actually *base" of the leaves and not roots. I'm still working on growing good bulbing onions too so we can compare notes next year. :wink:

Choose shorter variety carrots for less trouble unless you have a really tall raised bed (or really deep loose soil).

Oh, also, I had WAY more problems with beets than I should have, and I believe it was due to snails eating up the seedlings, and then some kind of larva -- possibly sawfly -- munching up the leaves that did manage to grow.

Swiss Chard (which is basically beets grown for leaves) is EASY! everybody says, but mine were always full of holes -- the culprit was rose slug-like but gray-ish in color -- and never developed properly. I have one that sprouted at the base of my container grown stevia that I brought inside and is now gorwing nicely -- it's an yellow stalked one of the Bright Lights and is now about 10" tall. :D

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rainbowgardener
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It's hard to believe that it is a nutrients/ fertility issue if you can grow tomatoes in that spot. (Are we talking about the same spot ? Your soil can be different from one area of the garden to another.) What is different between what the tomatoes need and the root crops isn't the nutrients, it's the texture of the soil. Root crops to do well need the soil much looser than other crops. It needs to be VERY well broken up, light and airy and crumbly. If your soil tends to be heavy and clay like you will need to amend it and lighten it up. If you have lots of compost and leaf mold you could use that, or try just adding some sand, or some potting soil with vermiculite. My soil is heavy. I grow carrots, but I do it by adding lots of compost, working the soil very well, and growing the shorter rounder varieties. No matter what I do, I can't get the long straight ones to thrive in my soil.
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lorax
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RG, you've got a great point about the soils, and it's one that I don't really think about much because I've got pretty much perfectly-textured all-round soils here (a mix of brown loam, sand, and volcanic ash). Hence, my root veggies turn out picture perfect, and the soil is just heavy enough to keep my tomatoes, corn, beans, and squashes happy too. (Although I do fertilize with additional ash and seaweed emulsion for the heavy feeders.)

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sheeshshe
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no, I have't grown them where I grow the tomaotes. I was trying to grow them in a different spot. I didn't put as much compost there. maybe it is a lack of compost?

my soil here is sand. so sand is good?? maybe it is too sandy and not enough good stuff.

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jal_ut
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This is kind of pointing towards soil fertility. Try getting lots of organic matter into the plot. Leaves added in the fall are good. Compost is good.
Grass clippings are good as mulch. Grass clippings are maybe best used in compost. Anyway, see what you can do about improving the soil and try again. Growing root crops has never been hard here as long as I loosen the soil good for the carrots. But my soil is different than yours. I have never grown in sandy soil. I don't know if you are hard core organic, but some fertilizer out of a bag may give your plants a boost until you get the organic matter up.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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sheeshshe
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I think I'll haul in another load of the seafood compost in the spring. you think that'll do it? I wanted to do another raspberry bed and some strawberry beds as well. so if I haul in some for those and then use what is leftover for the veg garden that should help.

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rainbowgardener
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Sand is good texture for the root crops, but it does tend to be not very fertile. Because it is so free draining, the nutrients leach right out of it. So yes, you have to keep adding nutrients a lot more in sandy soil than you would in clay or loam.
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I have had this happen to me before. When the soil has too much nitrogen the tops grow large at the expense of roots.

I first deplete the nitrogen with a nitrogen hog like corn or lettuce. I then will add about 20-30% compost to the soil volume. I will not add any additional nitrogen.

I will plant my seed. If I have depleted the soil enough, the tops of the beets, carrots and radishes will stay relatively short. Plant lettuce between the beets and radishes. Cabages will also work as nitrogen scavengers.

Make sure garden soil is deep and drains well and does not contain rocks or hard pan. I like a bed that is at least 18 inches deep.

Try to space seed when you plant it as much as possible. I broad cast my seed instead of planting in rows and thin seedling out. You need to thin them. If they are too tight the roots won't have space to expand.

Beets and radishes push themselves out of the soil as they grow. Carrots not so much. They do have fine hair roots that go a long ways down.

I like Detroit Red and Early Wonder beets. The carrots that did well for me were the Danvers half long, Red Cored Chantennay, and oxheart. The shorter varieties do better in heavy clay. Longer carrots do better in sandy soils.

I cannot grow carrots except in the cooler months. In the heat, they get very bitter and fibrous when they get old.
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rainbowgardener
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This was an old thread. Sheeshshe hasn't been around for a few months. But as it turned out in other threads/conversations, both her soil AND her water supply were strongly acid. That was making a hospitable environment for fungal diseases and everything in her garden was getting them. Once we figured that out she corrected the problem and things got better. So it may be, though neither the tomatoes nor the carrots love it that acid, that the tomatoes tolerated it better than the root crops.

Sometimes we forget to ask about all the pieces of the puzzle :)
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jal_ut
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Thanks for the update rainbowgardener.

Thanks for the update.

I have never had to contend with acid soil nor acid water in this area. Everything comes alkaline. Too much of that can be a problem too. Well maybe she can lime her soil and get a better balance going there?

Here its 19 degrees this morning and still a foot of snow on my garden. I am wanting to get on the land, but it will be another month the way it looks.

Have a great garden!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Gary350
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If your soil is sand you probably need to add a lot of organic material plus high nitrogen fertilizer too.

Find the Maine Coop Extension office online, down load the information that tells when to plant crops.

The soil needs to be 65 degrees or warmer for some seeds to grow. Carrots are one exception. I often plant carrots in the snow. I sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the snow in a row about 12" wide 10 ft long. When the weather gets right the seeds grow. Same thing for peas. Radishes are usually real good about growing, 100 seeds out of 100 seeds will usually all grow.

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