Carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, and rutabagas all have similar cultural requirements and grow in cool weather. Since they are hardy, they may be planted early in the spring, and left in the garden until fall. In addition, tops of beets and turnips are commonly used as cooked greens and can be harvested while the plants are young.
Root crops like to be grown in full sun but most will tolerate light afternoon share.
Seed Germination temperature is 50F to 85F. Most will germinate at temperatures as low a 40F. They will germinate in about a week at 75F.
Soil preparation is very important in achieving success with the root crops. They grow best in a deep, rock free, loose well drained soil that retains moisture.
Root crops do not grow well in very acid soils.
Nitrogen recommendations for beets, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas are about 3/4 to 1 cup of urea/100 sq. ft. Apply half during seed bed preparation and sidedress the other half in mid-season.
Radishes and turnips, nitrogen recommendations are about 1/2 cup urea/100 sq. ft. to be broadcast and incorporated before planting.
You can improve your soil by adding well rotted manure or compost. Do not use fresh manure as it can stimulate branching of the roots, compromising the quality of the crop and may increase weed problems.
Till the soil deeply, then smooth the surface in order to prepare a good seedbed.
Plant radishes and turnips beginning about April 15 for a spring crop, and again August 1 for a fall crop.
Start planting carrots and beets beginning April 15.
Plant parsnips beginning May 1.
For a continuous supply of young carrots, make two or three plantings spaced two or three weeks apart.
Rutabagas require a long growing season and should be planted May 15 for a fall crop.
Carrots, parsnips, radishes, and turnips should be thinned to 2-3 inch spacing. Rutabagas should be thinned to a 8 inch spacing.
Root crops need at least 1 inch of water from rainfall or irrigation each week during the growing season. Always soak the soil thoroughly when watering. Your soil should remain ‘damp’ not wet.
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