by Jennifer Poindexter
Are you interested in growing different types of vegetables? What about growing root vegetables?
Some gardeners have heard this term but aren’t sure which crops fall under the heading of root vegetables.
I’m going to walk you through your different options of root veggies, share some of their growing conditions, and their planting zones. This should give you all the information necessary to grow these crops well.
Whether growing root vegetables to extend your gardening season or because you’d like to expand the nutrients you consume, root vegetables are a delicious option.
Here are root vegetables you should consider adding to your garden.
Carrots are a wonderful vegetable to grow underground. They come in a variety of colors and grow best during the colder portions of the year. Frost can actually make your harvest sweeter.
You can grow carrots in planting zones three through ten. The main thing to consider when growing carrots is to ensure the soil is well-draining and loose. If the carrot can’t expand, you’ll end up with a stubby harvest. Take these facts into consideration to give your carrots the greatest chance in your garden.
I love growing onions because there’s a variety to suit everyone. They come in numerous sizes and colors. One of the most important considerations when growing onions, is to ensure the soil is loose. This will allow the vegetable to reach its full potential.
You also need well-draining soil and full sunlight. You can grow onions in almost any planting zone. However, be sure that you pick the right variety for your zone to have the best experience.
Beets are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I like growing beets because they produce a harvest in a couple of months, and you also get multiple products from one crop. You can enjoy the beet itself and also cook the foliage of the beets.
This root vegetable can handle partial sunlight. The important thing is that you plant them while the day time temperatures are between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures are too warm, your beet harvest will turn woody. You can grow beets in planting zones two through eleven.
Turnips are another favorite of mine. Again, it’s because you plant one vegetable and get multiple products. You can eat the turnips once they’ve formed. However, you can also eat the greens of the turnips for a healthy and delicious side dish.
This is another cool weather crop which thrives in temperatures right above freezing up to 75-degrees Fahrenheit. They tend to grow best in planting zones two through nine when they’re provided with well-draining soil and full sun.
5. Celery Root
Celery root may not be a vegetable you’re familiar with. It’s great for making a roasted root vegetable medley. You can also use it in stews or soups. It likes full sun and soil that holds moisture.
However, celery root does take a few weeks to germinate, but it can be grown outdoors after the final spring frost. It typically takes around 200 days to reach harvest. Since this crop is native in warmer climates, it should only be grown in planting zones seven and higher.
I live in planting zone seven, and I love growing garlic because I can toss it in the ground before winter hits and come spring I have a gorgeous harvest. In other planting zones, you may only be able to plant garlic in the spring. However, it’s extremely easy to grow.
Be sure to plant garlic in nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. It should also be loose, and the growing location should be in full sun. The correct time to plant garlic may vary depending upon your location, but it can be grown in zones three through nine. Provide the growing conditions garlic needs, and it could be one of the easiest crops you grow.
Many people don’t like the unique flavor profile of radishes. I once was one of them. However, I learned that they can be used in any recipe that typically calls for potatoes. Toss them in with a roast, and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to discover radishes.
If you’re interested in giving this root vegetable a try, be sure to plant them during the cooler portions of the year. They need loose soil that drains adequately. It should also be high in nutrients. Radishes can be ready to harvest in as little as a month and should be watered regularly while growing. If you live in planting zones two through eleven and need a low-maintenance crop, don’t overlook radishes.
Do you enjoy using horseradish to make sauces for sandwiches and other meat dishes? If so, you should consider growing your own. This plant will have large foliage above the ground but what you’re looking for is the root.
You can grow horseradish where there is ample sunlight and well-draining soil. It’s vital that water flows away from the plant promptly to ensure the root doesn’t rot. This spicy crop grows well in planting zones three and higher.
Potatoes come in more varieties than you may realize. In the grocery store you usually see baking potatoes. In reality, you can plant large or small potatoes. You can grow potatoes that are white, gold, blue, and other colors.
If you’d like to expand your horizons when it comes to potatoes, be sure to plant them where there’s loose, well-draining soil. It’s important that the potatoes have room to grow because they form underground. They also prefer to grow in full sun and in planting zones three and higher.
Rutabaga may be a vegetable you see in the store but pass by because you’re unsure of what to do with it. Most people roast them and use them with other root vegetables in casseroles or medleys. You may also choose to mash them and use them with your mashed potatoes. They can also be enjoyed raw.
However you choose to prepare this vegetable, be sure to grow rutabagas during the cooler portions of the year. They can handle partial to full sunlight and grow in planting zones three through nine.
Kohlrabi is another unique vegetable that you may be unfamiliar with. They’re great for using in soups or mashing with your potatoes. This vegetable can also be steamed and enjoyed by itself. If you’re interested in growing kohlrabi, be sure to plant it in full sun and in well-draining soil. It can grow in planting zones three through nine during the cooler times of the year.
You’ll notice that although kohlrabi is considered a root vegetable, it isn’t true to its name. The bulb of the kohlrabi plant will form above the ground, but it’s still great for growing in cool weather and offering some fresh variety to your meals.
Turmeric is a true root crop that is enjoyed in an abundance of ways. Some people like to use it in different dishes. Yet, others like to use turmeric to make tea.
However you choose to use this root, be sure you get the growing conditions correct to ensure it grows well in your care. Turmeric likes warmth and humidity. Ensure all threats of frost are over before planting this crop. It will need full sun, well-draining soil, and grows best in planting zones eight and higher.
13. Sweet Potatoes
Regular potatoes grow well in the cooler portions of the year, but sweet potatoes love warmth. Therefore, you should wait until all threats of frost are over and the temperatures have warmed for good before planting this crop.
Also, be sure that your sweet potatoes are grown in full sun and in well-draining soil. It helps if the soil is slightly loamy as this encourages better drainage. Be aware that sweet potatoes grow from slips instead of seeds. As long as the daytime temperatures are above the mid-70’s, they should grow well. In general, sweet potatoes grow best in planting zones seven and higher.
Parsnips look like a carrot but are white. Like carrots, the soil must be loose for them to grow well. Therefore, it’s wise to till the dirt a foot beneath this crop before planting.
Once the soil is correct, ensure parsnips will receive full to partial sunlight. They grow well alongside carrots in planting zones two through nine. If you’d like some color variety in your root vegetable entrees, consider adding parsnips to the mix to receive different nutrients.
This concludes our tour of root vegetables. Hopefully you’ve found a few vegetables which could work well in your planting zones and with the growing conditions you can provide.
Root vegetables are a great way to get fresh nutrients during the cooler portions of the year when other vegetables stop growing. Embrace this style of vegetable, experiment growing them, and feed your body fresh foods for as long as you can throughout the year.