|Genus ||Raphanus |
|Item Form ||(P) Pkt of 400 seeds |
|Seeds Per Pack ||400 |
|Plant Height ||7 in |
|Plant Width ||3 in |
|Additional Characteristics ||Direct Sow, Edible |
|Harvest Season ||Early Fall, Early Spring, Mid Fall |
|Light Requirements ||Full Sun |
|Moisture Requirements ||Moist, well-drained |
|Soil Tolerance ||Normal, loamy |
|Uses ||Beds, Outdoor |
Root crops are popular with both commercial growers and home gardeners because they're versatile, delicious, and in many cases, perfect for canning or over-winter storage. Beets, Radishes, Turnips, and Carrots contain numerous vitamins and nutrients, offer a wide range of flavors and textures, can be enjoyed raw or cooked, and are wonderfully easy to grow!
Choosing a Variety
When choosing which Beets or Radishes to grow there are several factors you will want to take into consideration. First of all, both come in a variety of interesting shapes and beautiful colors, so pick whatever appeals to your eye! Also, Radishes offer varying degrees of heat and Beets have flavors that range from earthy to sweet. Smaller Beets are usually the best for canning and pickling, and many people enjoy the nutritious Beet greens as well as the root itself. As far as choosing a type of Carrot to plant, you will be deciding mostly by color and shape.
When to Start
Direct sow your root crops in early spring or late summer. They're cool-weather crops, most preferring temperatures of around 70 degrees F in order to germinate. All but Carrots will germinate in a week to ten days. Carrots can take up to 3 weeks.
How to Start
Direct sowing is preferable to transplanting because there is less root disturbance. Before sowing, cultivate deeply.
Beets: Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before sowing -- this will aid in germination. Early spring is the typical time to sow your Beets, but in zones 9 to 10 you can sow outdoors in the fall. Sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds, planting successively at 3-week intervals for crops throughout the season. Site in full sun in a loose, rich, well-drained soil. Expect germination in 10 to 15 days and harvests within 50 to 60.
Radishes: Early spring is the typical time to sow your Radishes, but in zones 8 and warmer you can sow outdoors in the fall for a winter crop. Sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds, planting successively at 2-week intervals until mid-spring and then again in late summer. Site in full sun in a loose, rich, sandy, moist, well-drained soil. Expect germination in 6 to 10 days.
Carrots: Early spring is the typical time to sow your Carrots, but in warm climates you can sow outdoors in the fall for a fall crop. Sow at a ¼-inch depth, planting successively at 3-week intervals until early summer. Site in full sun in rich, loose, deeply worked and well-drained soil. Expect germination in 14 to 21 days.
Turnips: Sow in early spring after all danger of frost is past but while the ground is still cool. You can make successive sowings up to 5 weeks before temperatures are above 80 degrees F, then again in late summer if you want a fall harvest. In zones 8 and warmer you can also sow from early fall through spring for continuous crops over the winter. Sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds. Site in full sun in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Expect germination in 8 to 10 days.
- Apply mulch or soil around the tops of the roots to eliminate green shoulders.
- Thinning out seedlings is particularly important when dealing with Beets, as each Beet“seed ”is actually a fruit that harbors several seeds. Remove the smaller, weaker seedlings and allow the stronger ones to grow. The ones that have been removed can then be used as greens.
- Crowding and insufficient water can cause Radishes to bolt or fail to form a bulb.
- Carrots -- Young seedlings are weak and slow growing, so if a heavy rain occurs after your seeds have been sown and the surface of the soil becomes packed, you may not have any seedlings emerge.
- Keeping weeds under control is especially important during the first few weeks after planting. Be careful to only do shallow cultivation, however, as digging too deeply can injure tender roots.
- Most root crops prefer loose soils and cool temperatures.
- Fertilize prior to planting your Beets and again when the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall. Keep the plants well watered.
- You can harvest your Beets at any time during their growth cycle, but they are typically most tender after 40 to 50 days, when they're between 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. The greens are best if picked when they're about 4 to 6 inches tall.
- Leave at least an inch of foliage on the Beet root when you harvest. This will prevent bleeding during cooking.
- Beet roots and greens will keep in your garden for 2 to 3 weeks after they have matured, and once harvested, the roots will keep for up to a month (store near freezing, with high humidity to prevent wilting).
- Use a liquid fertilizer prior to planting your Radishes and then again every 2 weeks. Keep the plants well watered.
- Radish leaves can also be harvested. They're best when young, about ½ to 1½ inches across. You can cook them or add them fresh to a mixed salad.
- Fertilize prior to sowing your Turnips and again when the plants are about 4 inches tall.
- Turnip greens are also quite popular and are best harvested when young and tender. The roots themselves should be harvested when they're about 2 inches across.
- Carrots are typically sown using two different methods. The first is to plant in single-file rows. The other way is to scatter the seeds in areas up to 12 inches wide. Both methods work quite well, but the second one provides higher yields.
- Since Carrots are slow to germinate (keep soil moist throughout germination), you can mix faster-germinating veggies such as Radishes or Lettuce with the Carrot seeds. This not only marks the area for watering and weeding but these other seeds can help break up any crusting on the soil surface, making growth easier for your Carrots. You'll harvest these other veggies before they have a chance to crowd the Carrots.
- Apply a 1- to 3-inch layer of dried grass clippings, well-rotted compost, or other organic mulch around the base of your Carrots once they've emerged and are growing well. This will conserve moisture, regulate soil temperatures, reduce weeds, and help prevent the tops of the roots from turning green or purple. These discolored areas will have a slightly bitter taste.
- Carrots are harvested from baby size to full grown, and their leafy tops are used to flavor soups and other dishes.
- Foliage growth in Carrots can be misleading, so don't use that as an indication of root size. Loosen the soil around the top of the carrot, and if the roots are finger-sized or larger, they're ready to eat.
- Store your Carrots at 32 to 40 degrees F, or in fall and winter, just leave them in the garden until you want them.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
- The most common problem people face when growing root crops is failing to thin the plants properly. Sufficient space is essential for healthy crops.
- Root maggots can tunnel into Radishes. If this has been a problem in the past, apply an appropriate soil insecticide before planting.
- A lot of moisture after a dry spell can cause mature roots to burst and split. Try to maintain an even level of moisture.
- Carrots -- Forking (forked or deformed roots) can result from stones, deep and close cultivation, planting in a soil that's poorly prepared, or the attack of root-knot nematodes. These parasites exist in the soil in areas with hot climates or short winters. They infect the roots and create root-knot galls that drain the plant's nutrients. Young plants that are infected may die, while mature plants usually have a decreased yield. There are several means of control, including crop rotation and treatment of the soil with appropriate pesticides. Contact your County Extension office for removal or prevention methods.
- Carrots -- Seeding too thickly and not thinning the seedlings adequately will result in twisting and intertwining of the roots.
View All Know Before You Grow Topics
I usually have a very positive experience when shopping with this company. In addition to their website, they send complimentary catalogs, which are gorgeous. It definitely impacts my purchasing.
Superior Germination Through Superior Science
Park Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University Inspected
To make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced Technicians
Park Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold Standard
And many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier.
When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds?
It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them?
Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.