‘Tis the season for container gardening! What do you plan to grow and harvest in containers this winter? I don’t know about you, but I plan on trying my hand at root vegetables this winter. With an adequately sized container, you’ll have homegrown carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables fresh in the middle of winter!
The first step in your container garden journey is choosing a container that is deep enough for your veggie. If you are growing radishes or beets, you can choose more of a shallow container. If you want to grow carrots, potatoes, or even onions, your best bet would be to pick a deep container that will support their growth. As always, read your seed packet before planting, because it will tell you the depth they grow to.
Make sure your container of choice has adequate drainage, or you might lose your veggies to rot. If your container lacks drainage, you can always fill the bottom with gravel, and then layer soil on top of it, or you can drill a hole in the bottom of the container.
When growing any kind of root vegetable, it is important to keep the vegetable completely covered with soil. If left exposed, veggies can taste bitter! Keep them covered with soil for maximum taste!
At this point, you might be wondering which kind of soil works best for root vegetables. In my experience, I’ve found that a peat soil made for container gardening works best!
Use an all organic soil if you can, and add pesticides as they are needed! Personally, I didn’t find that any pests got to my carrot plants, but I took precautions just in case!
Most root vegetables do best in areas of full sun. My carrot plant hangs out in a southern-facing window, and my potato plant hangs out on a windowsill just around the corner. Some root vegetables prefer more sunlight than others; be sure to check your seed packet to see the amount of sunlight your variety prefers!
Root vegetables love it when their soil is moist, but never keep soil soggy. You could end up with some really bitter tasting veggies! Stick your finger into the soil and if the soil feels dry, give it a good watering! Test it with your finger every day to determine it’s watering needs.
After planting, expect it to take anywhere from 10-12 days for your seeds to germinate. If 10 days is simply too long, soak your seeds in warm water prior to planting to speed along the sprouting process.
Harvesting will depend on the variety of root vegetable you chose, but generally this is how long it takes:
Carrots: 70-80 days
Potatoes: 70-120 days
Radishes: 22-70 days