Root veggies like carrots, beets, potatoes and onions make for a great fall and winter crop, but there are a few things to be said about them in order to get an excellent yield.
First off, root veggies need a finely granulated and well drained soil. Our inland soil is too heavy; it will not allow root veggies to develop properly and inevitably will lead to less than optimum yield. To remedy this, create a raised bed or use large planters that will provide plenty of depth for veggies like carrots to develop. Use a mixture of sandy loam, peat moss and Espoma Bio-Tone soil starter for the best results. If you live closer to the coast where there is more sand than clay, you can plant directly in the native soil, though it would be wise to mix garden gypsum with the sand to counteract the sands salinity as well as using the previously mentioned additives.
For potatoes, you can use a raised bed, or the ground if its sufficiently amended, but I hear a 15 gallon planter works great. With potatoes, as their foliage becomes more abundant, it’s good to add an inch or more of additional soil over the roots to increase your potato yield. When planting potatoes, they usually come as whole potatoes and should be cut at the very least in quarters before seeding. Last and very important, after cutting, they need dusting sulfur on cut surfaces to prevent potential fungus problem.
The second and most interesting part of this blog has to do with the moon.
We know the moon controls the earth’s tides, but did you know it controls the way plants grow? Mind blowing, right? This all has to do with the way gravity works!! So when the moon is waxing, there is less gravity pulling down towards the earth and when it’s waning there is more. Sooooo… with root veggies, it’s an excellent idea to do your plantings and liquid fertilizing when the moon is waning or losing light. The moon works on many other levels than plants. Fishing, deer hunting and even when to pour concrete are just a few other times to think about how important lunar cycles are next time you look up at the night sky!
PS: You can get Carrot, Onion, Beet, Turnip, Parsnip, Radish seeds now at Gill’s. Onion sets will be in last week of November and Seed Potatoes will be here first week of January!