Every gardener has one or two garden projects or some plant they don’t like to grow. For me it is “root crops.” Beets, onions, carrots, potatoes, etc… It’s not so much I don’t like to grow them, it’s that I don’t like to harvest them. I put it off until the last minute and either the weather turns cold and rainy or I forget about them completely.
photo credit: Matt Biddulph
In the last few years I have solved the problem. My root crops are grown in containers and harvesting is as easy as tipping or dumping a container or bushel basket. This works particularly well with potatoes, which can get damaged while digging up. Plus digging potatoes is hard on the back.
My other favorite crops to plant in containers are carrots. When you grow carrots in a container they grow straight because there are no rocks in the soil. You can also cover the container with cheesecloth or mesh if white flies bother them. One other thing about growing carrots in a container is if you have a persistent rabbit that wants to dine on your crop, you can set it up out of reach.
Beets harvest quickly in containers, as do onions. And because I like my gardens to be fun I usually arrange my containers in artistic forms or mix what I plant in each container so that they are pleasing to the eye. Theses vegetable root crops will look nice with flowers added a few herbs and a hanging vine.
Container growing tips
As when anytime you plant in a container you will need to check the water to make sure the vegetables are not too dry. Container pots will dry out faster. I always mulch any container garden pot and usually add a plastic cut off bottle into the soil to help direct the water down to the roots where it is needed the most.
One other helpful hint for containers is that if the container is a deep one I will place quite a lot of straw in the bottom. The straw will help hold moisture in the soil, make the container garden lighter and will break down over the summer months and add nutrients to the soil.
photo credit: kthread
Give roots crops a try in containers and let me know how it works for you. It’s been very successful for me and easier than planting in the ground or even raised beds.