Crisp, sweet carrots are just the beginning of delicious roots from the vegetable garden. Parsnips are back in style, quite possibly because of their sweet nutty flavor when lightly grilled. The new appreciation for vegetarian cuisine has also caused a surge of interest in turnips and rutabagas, two root crops long known only as stock-up foods for hard times.
Because they grow below the ground, the quality of all root vegetables is enhanced by loose soil rich in organic matter. A sandy loam type of soil is best, but you can certainly grow any root crop in clay soil that has been amended with organic matter. If your soil is especially rocky, heavy, or compact, consider creating a raised bed for carrots and other root crops. Fill it with soil that has been mixed well with plenty of sand and organic matter, such as Nursery Blend Planting Mix.
Carrot seeds are especially sensitive to hot weather. If you are sowing them in late summer for a fall crop, cover the seeds with a sheet of cardboard, such as an unfolded packing box. This will shade the seeds and help keep the soil cool. Check under the cardboard daily and remove it at the first sign of seedlings pushing through the ground.
|Because they grow below the ground, the quality of all root vegetables is enhanced by loose soil rich in organic matter.