We all know that the basic function of roots is anchoring in the ground and absorbing water & nutrients from the soil. However, many of our popular vegetables are modified roots that have adopted the function of food storage & propagation as well.
No kitchen garden is complete without Root vegetables. It is a general misconception that ‘root vegetables can only be grown on ground.' We have good news for you! It’s very much possible to grow all kinds of underground vegetables in pots & containers provided you follow right materials & methods. Following are the steps of growing root vegetables in containers:
Season: Usually current varieties of root vegetables can be grown throughout the year except for harsh summer. Still, winter is the best season to grow all the root crops in containers.
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Type of container: Choose a container with a minimum depth of 12-14 inches & bigger spread area (according to available space & your requirement), e.g., Rectangular deep containers. Root vegetables can also be grown in drums & big sized grow bags.
Propagation: Regular root vegetables like carrot, beetroot, radish & turnip are grown by seed sowing only. Seeds are directly sown in the containers. These can also be re-grown from kitchen scrap by encouraging them to root & sprout.
Pot mixtures: Rooting vegetables need plenty of space & aeration in soil. The ideal potting mixture can be 1 part garden soil, 1 part coco peat & 1 part Vermicompost.
Fertilizers: Addition of fresh manure should be avoided in growing root vegetables. They require an extra layer of well rotten manure at the bottom of the container. Potash either given in chemical form or the form of wood ash is helpful. Avoid feeding high nitrogen fertilizers as they promote leafy growth rather than roots.
Sunlight: Root crops require full sunlight (6-8 hours) in winter, so place your containers accordingly. Some varieties can grow under outdoor partial shade.
Watering: Water your vegetable container every alternate day in the form of the light shower with a watering can.
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Plant care: Always look for the early signs of any insect/fungal/ any other infections. Spray appropriate medicines as soon as any symptoms of such infections are spotted.
Watch out for: Cutworms.
Harvesting: Depending on the species, at the end of growing season vegetable roots can be harvested by uprooting them along with the whole plant from the pot. One plant gives you single giant tap root veggie.
Please note that not every vegetable that grows underground is a root vegetable, many others are be modified underground stems like bulbs (Onion, garlic), corms(Yams), rhizomes(Ginger) & tubers (Potatoes).
So, what are you waiting for? Grow your favorite rooting veggies in containers in your home garden & enjoy the healthy delight.
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