There is a compelling reason to start growing root crops in a square foot garden. Root crops would include things like radishes, onions, carrots, beets, turnips, or garlic. Unlike vegetables that grow on bushes or vines, root crops have some specific requirements that are met nicely in a square foot garden. Here are some pointers for growing beautiful root crops in your square foot garden.
In a standard garden, root crops are often grown in rows. This is really not the most efficient way to get the most productivity. In fact, a square foot garden is the perfect way to get the most root crops per square foot that you can. Instead of planting in rows, plant your root crops in a field that is spaced evenly in each square foot. Below you will find the recommended spacing for common root crops per square foot.
Beets, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, and Turnips – 9 per square foot
Carrots and Radishes – 16 per square foot
When growing root crops in your raised bed square foot garden, you will be able to grow some of the finest that you have ever seen. This is true for a few reasons. First, the spacing that is used in square foot gardening is precise and will insure that no two roots are too close together. That will allow each to reach optimal size as quickly as possible.
Second, because you use a raised bed there will be no foot traffic on the nearby soil, meaning the garden soil will remain light all season. This is particularly important for root crops since their growth will not be stunted as it would in hard and compacted soil.
Finally, amending the soil each year will keep the soil rich and full of nutrients that your root crops need to grown big and tasty. For example, at the end of every season you should amend the soil with nutrients, and add new compost to keep the soil at its best. This helps to eliminate soil borne diseases and offers next year’s plants with the nutrients they need.
The best thing about growing root crops in a square foot garden is the simplicity of it. Unlike growing in long rows, the precise planting means virtually no thinning is required and you won’t have to wonder if things are too close together. The spacing is very clear.
The rich soil in your raised bed will make harvest very easy and your watering will be down to the bare minimum since every drop benefits your plants. You can also start small very easily since each section is only one square foot. For example, if you have never grown turnips because you don’t know how to use them, why not devote one square foot to them, grow 9 turnips and see how you like them. It’s simple to try out new plants and varieties in this way and keep track of which ones you planted in each cell.
Root Crops Love Square Foot Gardening
When you space root crops correctly in a square foot raised bed garden and amend your soil, you will very quickly discover that root crops and square foot gardens were made for each other. Fantastic root crop yields are one of the most compelling reasons for square foot gardening. Growing root crops in a square foot garden is easy, productive, and fun, so try it out this season.