Growing Root Vegetables In Your Garden
Root vegetables are high in carbohydrates and other valuable nutrients. Root vegetables grow underneath the ground where they are able to absorb high amounts of minerals from the water and soil. Before sowing outdoors, the soil should be prepared. It is best dug over in the autumn, removing any stones and working it to a fine, loose consistency. For long roots it needs to be dug to a good depth. It is best to sow in rows so that it is easier to identify the seedlings as they emerge. The seeds should then be lightly covered with fine soil and watered gently so they are not disturbed. Don’t forget to use your free Johnsons seed label to identify the variety sown. To maximise the harvest season it is best to make repeat sowings at 2 to 3 week intervals. Cloche protection of early and late sowings of beetroot, carrots and radishes will help to extend the growing season. Once seedlings sown outdoors are large enough to handle they need to be thinned out to the spacing indicated on the packet.
It is best to remove the weaker seedlings leaving the stronger ones the room they need to grow on. Thinning also improves air circulation around the young plants, reducing the chance of disease. If sown thinly, further thinning of beetroot, carrots and radishes can be done gradually by harvesting alternate roots from the row, these can be used in salads or as ‘baby veg’. However it’s best not to delay the thinning out of parsnips, swedes and turnips. The soil needs to be kept moist (but not wet) and weed free. You need to also keep root vegetables well watered to prevent roots from splitting.