Fall & Winter Growing Guides

Root Crops Growing Guide

Beets

Soil Temp for Germ.Days to EmergenceSeed DepthThin Plants ToSeed SpacingRow SpacingMin. Germ.Seed LifeSeeds per gramFertilizer Needs
50-75°F5-171/2"3-4"1"12-16"75%2 years≈ 30-75Medium


Beta vulgaris This wholesome vegetable is doubly heart-healthy. The sweet, delicious roots contain high levels of glycine betaine. This phytochemical compound fights platelet clots and plaque formation in the arteries. Along with a wealth of potassium, calcium and vitamin A, hearty beet greens are rich in fiber, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Days to maturity are calculated from date of direct seeding.

Culture
• Beets perform best in fertile, evenly moist soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0
• Uniform soil moisture is essential
• Sudden changes in temperature or soil moisture will increase zoning (ring formation in the root) and lead to premature bolting
• Transplanting not recommended as it can damage the tap root

Direct Sowing
• Sow June—August
• At the bottom of the furrow band 1 cup of TSC's Complete fertilizer per 5-10 row feet
• Cover seeds with sifted compost, loose soil, or vermiculite and water evenly
• Use row cover when soil temperatures are cool and to protect from pests

Insects & Diseases
Common insects: Leaf miners, flea beetles, and leaf hoppers
Insect control: Pick off affected leaves and check for eggs—if found, spray with Azatrol
Common diseases: Scab
Disease prevention: Neutral pH (7.0), 3-4 year crop rotation, keep adequately watered
Common pests: Mice, voles, and gophers
Pest control: Traps or underground screens

Harvest & Storage
• Beets should be harvested before temperatures drop to the 15-20°F range
• Harvest when roots reach desired size; small roots are tender, large roots may become woody if left in the ground too long
• Leaves can be used as pot greens or in salads
• If you are in a temperate climate, and your soil is well drained, your best location for root storage is in the garden under a protective layer of straw
• Trim tops and store at 36°F and 95% relative humidity




KEY TO BEET DISEASE RESISTANCE AND TOLERANCE
HR indicates high resistance.
IR indicates intermediate resistance.
BLS | Bacterial Leaf Spot
C | Cercospora

Carrots

Soil Temp for Germ.Days to EmergenceSeed DepthThin Plants ToSeed SpacingRow SpacingMin. Germ.Seed LifeSeeds per gramFertilizer Needs
45-85°F6-211/4"1-3"4 per inch9-16"75%3 years≈ 650-750Low


Daucus carota var. sativus Studies on the nutritional properties of carrots have revealed that they are powerhouses of a wide range of phytonutrient antioxidants. With the vast spectrum of colors and varieties available, the amounts of individual antioxidants vary, yet the overall balance of these potent nutrients contributes to outstanding health benefits regardless of the variety.

Days to maturity are calculated from date of direct seeding.

Culture
• Carrots perform best in deeply worked, well-composted, loose soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0
• When the soil is workable, spade or till it to a fine texture 12-16 inches deep — cloddy, heavy soil will not make straight roots
• Heavy soils can cause forked roots, use Chantenay, Kuroda, Paris Market, or Nantes types in heavy soils
• Avoid split roots by maintaining even watering
• When plants have 7-10 leaves, hill 1-2 inches of soil around crowns to prevent green shoulders

Direct Sowing
• Sow mid-June—July
• Dig a shallow furrow and lightly cover seed with soil, vermiculite or sifted compost
• Water evenly and regularly to prevent soil crusting
• Row cover beds when soil temperatures are cool and to help prevent soil crusting
• Thin when plants are 4 inches tall

Insects & Diseases
Common insects: Carrot fly maggots
Insect control: Row covers at planting
Common diseases: Various blights
Disease prevention: 3-4 year crop rotation

Harvest & Storage
• Flavor is enhanced after a couple of frosts
• Roots can be dug any time at maturity through winter as needed
• In harsh climates, mulch with straw for protection
• Best harvested when 1/2-3/4 inches in diameter when carrots are sweet and tender
• Cut tops prior to storage
• Store at 36°F and 95% relative humidity



What is pelleted seed?
Seed that has been coated with a clay-based material to form a larger, round shape. This makes planting by hand or mechanical seeder easier and allows for more controlled sowing of small seeds such as carrots or lettuce. All pelleted seed has a National Organic Program (NOP) approved coating.



KEY TO CARROT DISEASE RESISTANCE AND TOLERANCE
HR indicates high resistance.
IR indicates intermediate resistance.
AB | Early (Alternaria) Blight
AS | Alternaria Stem Canker
C | Cercospora
CS | Cavity Spot
P | Phythium Root Rot
PM | Powdery Mildew

Parsnips

Soil Temp for Germ.Days to EmergenceSeed DepthThin Plants ToSeed SpacingRow SpacingMin. Germ.Seed LifeSeeds per gramFertilizer Needs
55-75°F15-281/2"3-4"1/2"12-18"65%1 year≈ 175Low


Pastinaca sativa This hearty, sweet vegetable is often overlooked by gardeners, yet it deserves a place in both spring and fall plantings. A rich source of copper, this trace element is said to support hemoglobin formation for healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves.

Days to maturity are calculated from date of direct seeding.

Culture
• Parsnips perform best in deeply worked, well-composted, loose soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0
• High nitrogen fertilizer or manure can cause roots to fork and become hairy
• Avoid compacting the soil as parsnips are deeply rooted
• Keep well watered through the growing season

Direct Sowing
• Sow mid-June—July
• Dig a shallow furrow and lightly cover seed with soil, vermiculite or sifted compost
• Water evenly and regularly to prevent soil crusting
• Row cover beds when soil temperatures are cool and to help prevent soil crusting
• Thin when plants are 4 inches tall

Insects & Diseases
Common insects: Carrot rust fly maggots
Insect control: Reemay or Summer Insect Barrier, until tops are 3-4 inches tall
Common diseases: Celery blight
Disease prevention: Keep well watered and a 3-4 year crop rotation

Harvest & Storage
• Flavor is enhanced after a couple of frosts
• Roots can be dug any time at maturity through winter as needed
• In harsh climates, mulch with straw for protection
• Best harvested when 1/2-3/4 inches in diameter when carrots are sweet and tender
• Cut tops prior to storage
• Store at 36°F and 95% relative humidity



KEY TO PARSNIP DISEASE RESISTANCE AND TOLERANCE
HR indicates high resistance.
IR indicates intermediate resistance.
BC | Black Canker

Radishes

Soil Temp for Germ.Days to EmergenceSeed DepthThin Plants ToSeed SpacingRow SpacingMin. Germ.Seed LifeSeeds per gramFertilizer Needs
45-80°F4-111/2"1-2"1/2"8-12"80%4 years≈ 80Low


Raphanus sativus Radishes are best sown in spring or late summer, maturing when days are shorter, sunlight weaker, and temperatures milder; though some varieties are better able to handle summer conditions. The mildly spicy roots, low in calories and rich in fiber and cancer-fighting antioxidants, have good qualities as a digestive tonic or to clear the sinuses and ease sore throats. Anti-microbial properties made them a detoxifier in traditional medicine, and couple with high vitamin C for an immune boost. Don't discard the tops, as they are even denser with nutrients.

Days to maturity calculated from date of direct seeding.

Culture
• Prepare the bed by working compost into the top 2-3 inches of soil
• Needs consistant soil moisture due to shallow root systems
• Dry or crowded conditions will slow growth and make roots hot or pithy
• The season may be extended from February through October by sowing in cold frames or using row covers
• For extended harvests plant every two weeks

Direct Sowing
• Sow mid-August—mid-September
• Three grams will sow 7-8 row feet
• It is essential to thin promptly when they form 2 true leaves

Insects & Diseases
Common insects: Flea beetles and Root maggots
Insect control: Pyrethrin and row covers early in the season

Harvest & Storage
• Harvest while still young (before splitting)
• Remove tops before storing
• Let a few plants bolt and make a seed pod — green pods have a crunchy, mild radish flavor
• Store at 36°F and 100% relative humidity

Rutabagas & Turnips

Soil Temp for Germ.Days to EmergenceSeed DepthThin Plants ToSeed SpacingRow SpacingMin. Germ.Seed LifeSeeds per gramFertilizer Needs
55-75°F5-171/4-1/2"6-8"1-2"12-16"80%3 years≈ 265-400Low


Brassica spp. These classic root crops can store long-term in the root cellar, or right in the ground for milder regions, providing winter fare with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that boast a whole range of health benefits. The leafy tops are particularly loaded with carotenoids, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin K.

Days to maturity calculated from date of direct seeding.

Culture
• Rutabagas and turnips can tolerate a range of soil types with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0-7.0
• Work in one cup of TSC's Complete fertilizer per 10 row feet

Direct Sowing
• Sow turnips July—early-September
• Sow rutabagas in July
• It is essential to thin promptly when they form 2 true leaves date

Insects & Diseases
Common insects: Root maggots, flea beetles
Insect control: Pyrethrin and row covers

Harvest & Storage
• Pick early; roots are sweetest when small
• Turnip greens can be picked when young
• Both root crops are best stored at 36°F and 95% relative humidity