Soil for Root Crops

We all know that if you want a beautiful crop of root vegetables, that the soil has to be in perfect condition for the roots to grow. This means double digging, spending money on moss and compost, and otherwise using too many resources for the crops. This is why I never have carrots in my garden. We do not have a good relationship. The one year I had good luck with carrots was the one year I spent hours and hours preparing the beds and spent money to buy dirt that was soft enough for the carrots. I have no interest in spending hours of my non existent time on preparing a bed this year and I surely can’t afford much. I spent a little bit of time looking on the internet and found what seems to be a good solution.

First, I made the outline of a raised bed with rocks I found laying around. Then I went around picking up rotting logs and sticks and I haphazardly piled them in the raised bed. I buried the logs and sticks loosely with leaves. The tractor scooped up some topsoil and dumped it in the raised bed. With the logs, sticks, and leaves being piled up loosely, the heavier rocks and clay should have room to fall down into the spaces left. The light, fluffy soil would be more likely to stay on top. This is not an exact science and won’t be perfect, but I am going to try it and see what happens. Worst case would be the root crops failing and then having a bed full of rich soil next year. Once there is plenty of top soil built up on the bed, I grabbed the rake and try to get the leaves mixed in to the soil. This encourages the heavier bits to drop and the leaves will compost to make the soil more rich. If you don’t mix leaves up, they stick together as they rot and form a layer that the root crops may not be able to grow through. I’ll put a couple tomato or pepper plants in the bed so that there is no monoculture and to shade the root crops that like it cooler.

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When it came time to plant, I pretty much just scattered the seeds around the bed. The soil was fluffy enough that the seeds dropped nicely in to place. I scattered beets, carrots, turnip and then some marigolds for beneficial bugs. Along the front I planted onions and parsnips along the back. The onions seeds came from this years seed swap!

Here is a link on making amendments to the soil and another one all about carrots.

Here is my recent post on growing potatoes.

Next planting project: planting gourds for crafting!

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