Root vegetables grow fast in raised garden beds, require little maintenance, are satisfying to harvest, and can be stored away for a long time!
We've compiled a list of the easiest root vegetables you can grow in your garden and some tips for planting and harvesting.
If you prefer to grow your seeds on trays and later plant them in the Metal Raised Garden Beds, make your life easier with the Vego Garden Seedling Trays. Their Seedling Trays have air-cutting strips on the sides to prevent root development and drainage holes, allowing your plants to settle well into their new environment.
Whether you sow your seeds directly into metal raised beds or use seed trays, Vego Garden has you covered!
1. Easiest root vegetables for beginners.
Radishes are cool-season root vegetables that thrive in spring and fall. Radishes prefer well-drained soil. They grow best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Radishes can be harvested as early as 20-30 days after planting. It is best to harvest them when the roots typically reach around 1-2 inches in diameter.
Carrots are cool-season crops. Best for planting in early spring or late summer for a fall harvest. They require loose, well-drained soil free of rocks and other obstructions for straight root growth and full sun. Carrots take about 70-80 days to mature for harvest.
Beets can be grown in both cool and warm seasons. For a spring harvest, sow beet seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in the winter. Plant seeds 8-10 weeks before the first expected frost for a fall harvest. They can tolerate partial shade but grow best in full sun. Depending on the variety, mature beets take around 55-70 days. Harvest beets when they are about 1-3 inches in diameter.
Potatoes are warm-season root vegetables that are typically planted in early spring. They prefer loose, well-drained soil. Plant seed potatoes or sprouting tubers into the garden bed, a few inches deep and in full sun, for optimal growth. The tubers start forming about 7-10 weeks after planting, but the full maturity period varies depending on the variety. Harvest potatoes when the foliage dies back and turns yellow. Gently dig them out of the soil to avoid damaging the tubers.
Onions can be grown from sets, transplants, or seeds. For sets and transplants, plant them in early spring. For seeds, start them indoors 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost and transplant them outdoors when the soil is workable. Onions need full sun for optimal growth, depending on the variety. They take around 100-120 days to mature. Harvest your onions when the tops start to yellow and fall over. Store them in a warm and dark space.
Garlic is typically planted in the fall for a summer harvest, although it can also be planted in early spring. Garlic prefers well-drained soil and full sun for best results. It takes about 8-9 months for garlic to mature. Harvest garlic when the tops start to yellow and dry out. Carefully dig up the bulbs, gently brush off excess soil, and store them in a dark and warm area.
Good To Know: A "variety" refers to the different types of plants within a species. For example, there are over 11 types of onion species. Follow the instructions on the packaging for the best results.
2. Provide the right conditions
The rule for most vegetables is 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, but it doesn't apply to every root vegetable. Pay attention to the sowing instructions for your seeds. Most root vegetables prefer cooler temperatures, so planting in early spring or late summer/early fall is best for a late harvest.
3. Prepare your garden bed
Raised beds are beginner friendly and yield the best results when paired with the Hugelkultur method. The Hugelkultur method consists of trapping moisture on the bottom of your Metal Raised Garden Bed, creating a sponge that continuously feeds your crops and is low maintenance. Below is a list of the layers you should have on your garden bed, from bottom to top.
- Cover the bottom of your raised metal garden bed with cardboard.
- Add large decaying logs from hardwood trees like oak, poplar, ash, acacia apple, beech, alder, and maple.
- Add a layer of woodchips, sticks, and smaller branches.
- Add a layer of mulch, grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps.
- Add organic and nutrient-rich compost.
- Add organic and nutrient-rich topsoil.
- Plant your seeds!
4. Tips for planting your root vegetables
Water the soil
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. The Hugelkultur method ensures that your garden bed doesn’t dry out but does not replace regular watering.
Feed your soil
The right fertilizer will keep your soil healthy and thriving. Buy fertilizer that is organic and mineral-rich so you can enjoy nutrient-rich vegetables. Add worm castings to your soil to improve aeration and drainage while increasing moisture retention in your raised garden bed.
Get the right tools
Basic tools for beginners include gloves, a hand shovel, a hand rake, a watering can, and pruning shears or scissors. If you want to step up your gardening game, check out the 10-in-1 Hori Hori knife. It has a flat and serrated blade, a shovel, a bottle opener, M8, M6, M5, and M4 wrenches, a nail puller, a ruler, and a case with a belt clip. It’s the perfect tool that will follow you on your transition from beginner to experienced gardener!
5. Tips for harvesting root vegetables in garden beds:
Know when they’ll be ready
Make a calendar reminder for the estimated maturity period mentioned on the seed package to determine when the vegetables are ready for harvest.
Carefully dig around the base of the plant with a garden fork or trowel to loosen the soil, and slowly pull out the vegetables from the ground, being cautious not to damage them.
Use color and size as a rule of thumb
For crops like radishes and carrots, you can assess the top's size and color to determine if they are ready for harvest.
Know what stays and what goes
Some root vegetables can be left in the ground for a while after maturity, while others should be harvested promptly to prevent them from becoming woody or inedible.
Store root vegetables in a cool, dark place with proper ventilation to prolong their shelf life, brush off excess soil, and remove any attached foliage.
Which root vegetables are you planting in your garden bed?