According to , root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes grow best when planted directly in the soil where they will eventually mature. They have delicate taproots that don’t appreciate being moved. On the other hand, other garden vegetables benefit from starting indoors before being transplanted outside. If you’re interested in growing root vegetables, in this article on The Best Root Vegetables to Grow (7 tips) keep reading to learn more.
Planting Root Vegetables Outdoors
Root vegetables are well-suited for planting outdoors directly in the soil where they will mature. The soil temperature should be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit before planting, and the soil should be loose and well-draining. Before planting, remove rocks, debris, and other obstacles that may hinder root growth. A garden fork or tiller is useful for loosening compacted soil.
For best results, plant root vegetables in a sunny location. Root vegetables prefer full sun, but they will also tolerate partial shade. If you live in an area with hot summers, consider planting in partial shade to protect the plants from excessive heat.
To plant root vegetables, create furrows in the soil that are about 1/2 inch deep. Space the furrows 12 inches apart. Sow the seeds thinly along the furrow, leaving about 1 inch of space between each seed. Cover the seeds with soil and water gently.
Caring for Root Vegetables
Once your root vegetables have germinated, you’ll need to care for them properly to ensure healthy growth. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, while underwatering can cause stunted growth and poor root development.
When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin them so that there is about 2 inches of space between each plant. This will give the plants enough room to grow and mature.
Harvesting Root Vegetables
When your root vegetables are mature, it’s time to harvest them. The exact timing will depend on the specific type of vegetable you’re growing. Carrots, for example, are typically ready to harvest when the tops are about 1 inch in diameter. Beets can be harvested when they are about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
To harvest root vegetables, use a garden fork or shovel to gently loosen the soil around the plants. Pull the plants out of the soil carefully, taking care not to damage the roots. Rinse the vegetables thoroughly to remove any soil, and prepare them for cooking or storage.
What Is a Root Vegetable?
A root vegetable is any underground part of a plant that humans consume. Some popular types of root vegetables are carrots, beets, potatoes, yams, and onions. Root vegetables are naturally gluten-free, and many are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Types of Root Vegetables
Many types of root vegetables are wonderful plants to have in your garden because they can be harvested over a long period of time and don’t take up too much space.
- Stem tubers and root tubers: Stem tubers (potatoes, yams, Jerusalem artichokes, oca) and tuberous roots (sweet potatoes, yucca, cassava, tug, jicama) are underground storage organs where plants stockpile nutrients for winter or dry months. In order to grow effectively, these types of root vegetables need damp, loose soil with ample drainage. You can grow tubers in garden beds, a potato grows bag, a five-gallon bucket, or a deep flowerpot.
- Rhizomes: Also called creeping root stalks, rhizomes are underground plant stems that send out stolons or “runner” stems which run horizontally along the soil surface. Grow these root vegetables in raised beds so their stolons don’t interfere with the rest of your crops. Common rhizomes include asparagus, turmeric, rhubarb, bamboo, ginger, and hops.
- Taproots: This type of plant has an enlarged root that is thick at the top and tapers to a point at the bottom. To grow undisturbed, taproots require loose, rock-free soil. Examples of taproots include carrots, beets, daikon radishes, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, jicama, daikon, kohlrabi, and celeriac (also called celery root).
- Bulbs: Typically are made up of layered segments, bulbs grow just under the surface of the ground and produce a leafy stem above the ground. Use bulbs like red onions, white onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks to enhance the flavor of other foods. The best environment for growing bulbs is a deep garden bed with a large surface area and loose, well-drained soil.
- Corms: Similar to bulbs in that they grow just under the surface of the soil, corms survive during dry and cold seasons by storing nutrients. Examples of corms include taro, water chestnut, malanga, and arrowhead.
7 Tips for Growing the Best Root Vegetables to Grow
Root vegetables are rewarding and productive crops, but they require proper care.
Build a raised garden bed. A raised bed offers you better control of the type of soil in your garden, making it the ideal environment for root crops to flourish. Root vegetables flourish in well-drained, deep, loose soil where their roots can easily expand. Root crops generally grow well in sandy loam and peat soil, and they tend to struggle in clay soils.
Perform a soil test. This will help you properly adjust your soil pH levels and make sure your soil contains enough of the proper nutrients. You’ll generally want to use organic fertilizers high in phosphorous and potassium to encourage root growth. The optimal soil pH for root growth is between 6 and 7.
Thin out your sprouted seedlings. Thin your crops by removing some seedlings from the ground so the remaining seedlings have more space to grow. This is especially important for root vegetables since they need extra root space to absorb enough nutrients.
Know your growing seasons. Most root vegetables grow best in cool weather, but some are capable of thriving in the summer heat. Beets, radishes, carrots, and turnips are easy-to-grow, cool-weather crops that provide a worthwhile harvest even in a small space. White potatoes also love cool weather; plant them as soon as the ground thaws in late winter. Sweet potatoes require a long, hot growing season. Onions and garlic are among the rare crops you can plant in the fall for a spring harvest—the bulbs overwinter underground.
Grow root vegetables in full sun. Most root vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
Use companion plants to deter pests. Pests can damage the shoots of root vegetables. Companion plants can keep some of these pests away or attract useful predators. For instance, cilantro serves as a companion plant for potatoes by attracting beneficial insects (like ladybugs, hoverflies, parasitoid wasps, and lacewings) that prey on Colorado potato beetles. Chives and garlic can keep carrot root flies away from carrots.
Remove the leaves after harvesting. This will ensure that moisture stays in the root and doesn’t flow back into the shoot. Store root vegetables in a cool, dark place.
Growing root vegetables can be a rewarding experience for gardeners of all skill levels. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can successfully grow a variety of root vegetables outdoors. Remember to be patient, as root vegetables take longer to mature than many other garden vegetables. With proper care and attention, you’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest in no time.
What is the easiest root vegetable to grow?
Garlic is one of the easiest root vegetables to grow and is a popular ingredient in many home-cooked meals. Garlic can be planted in both the spring and fall, and it requires full sun and loamy soil. It is important to provide enough space (about 8 inches between each plant) for the roots to grow fully. 
What are the best root vegetables?
The best root vegetables to grow to vary based on personal preferences and growing conditions. However, some of the most popular root vegetables include carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, parsnips, and potatoes. These vegetables are nutrient-dense, versatile, and relatively easy to grow. 
What are 5 root vegetables?
Some examples of root vegetables include carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, and parsnips. There are many other root vegetables to choose from, but these five are commonly found in home gardens and are relatively easy to grow. 
What are the best root crops?
The best root crops depend on factors such as growing conditions, climate, and personal preferences. Some popular root crops include carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. These crops are nutrient-dense, versatile, and can be used in a variety of recipes. 
What root crop grows the fastest?
Radishes are a fast-growing root crop that can be harvested in as little as 3-4 weeks after planting. They are easy to grow and come in a variety of colors and sizes. Other fast-growing root crops include turnips and beets, which can be harvested in 50-60 days and 60-70 days, respectively. 
What is the number 1 crop in the world?
The most widely grown crop in the world is maize (corn). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, maize is grown on over 197 million hectares worldwide, with a total production of 1.1 billion tonnes in 2021. Other top crops include rice, wheat, and potatoes. 
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