Planting Guide

By Julia Price

August 1, 2017 4 min read

If you're a fan of fresh root vegetables, you can't get them any fresher than planting a garden right in your backyard.

According to Modern Farmer, when you purchase the seed packet of the vegetable you want to produce, you can check the label to see how many days it will take that specific vegetable to mature. You then want to subtract that number from your almanac's first projected frost date to make sure that you will have enough time to harvest the crop before then. Check your location-specific almanac here: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates.

Modern Farmer does an exceptional job of breaking down not only which veggies to plant but also how many days they typically take to ripen. Some of the root vegetables it suggests planting are:

--Beets (60 days to mature).

--Carrots (95 days).

--Turnips (50 days).

--Rutabagas (75 days).

--Radishes (30 days).

If it's your first season planting, this would be a great place to start. In fact, you can even limit yourself to one of the above options until you feel that you've really mastered your green thumb. But then again, why not jump in and see what you learn along the way?

So now it's time to get planting! Self-proclaimed pioneer Melissa Norris has some tips for growing carrots and beets. For carrots, she recommends sowing the seeds on top of moist soil to start and then, once the carrots begin to grow with a few leaves, thinning the soil. For beets, she advises soaking the seeds overnight before planting them approximately a half-inch into the ground and at least 4 inches apart. However, if you're in a rainy season in your area, you can avoid soaking the seeds overnight. The soil should be kept moist and thinned. (If you'd like to read more about soil thinning techniques or why it's important in the first place, the website Gardening Know How is an incredible source.)

For the turnip lovers out there, Rodale's Organic Life passionately suggests planting in an area where the soil gets a lot of sunlight, approximately a half-inch into the ground and anywhere between 3 and 4 inches apart. This goes for rutabagas, as well. Make sure to keep the soil moist, and once the plants are between 4 and 6 inches tall, Rodale's Organic Life suggests adding about 2 inches of mulch.

Radishes follow similar guidelines, with a slight variation for best results, based on tried-and-true planting methods tested by Burpee. One tip Burpee offers is to use soil that is low in nitrogen. When the radishes are about 2 inches tall, you'll want to thin the soil so that seeds are at least 3 inches apart. To keep radishes from being infected by root maggots and to make sure they don't dry out, add a mulch that is partially made of wood ashes. You can plant radishes near basically every other root vegetable because they "get along" with all veggies, which in the gardening world is referred to as being a companion plant.

There are various tips and tools that you'll learn along the way, as well, so make sure to get planting! Of course, if you're looking for organic gardening products, there are multiple options either in your local grocery or online. Some websites deliver everything you need right to your doorstep. There's something incredibly peaceful about growing something from the earth, something that you took part in every step of the way, so even if your root vegetables don't come out exactly as you hoped, the process in itself is quite rewarding. This can also be a great way to bond with family members, children or friends, because we all have a natural connection with getting our hands a bit dirty every now and then!

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