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Second Season Garden: Root Vegetables

October 26, 2011


The root vegetable raised bed is planted and I’m waiting for the warm, sunny days we usually have in October. Typically, the soil is warm and seed germination is good. The winter rains often begin this month.

So far, most of October has been foggy and overcast here at the coast. Sometimes, less than a mile inland the sun shines with the brilliance and warmth I cherish in October.

Here are the root vegetables I’ve planted from the front of the 4x8 foot raised bed to the rear:

Radish ‘Easter Egg Blend’  Botanical Interests
Scallions 'Delicious Duo’  Renee’s Garden Seeds
Beets 'Baby Ball’  Renee’s Garden Seeds
Beets 'Golden’  Renee’s Garden Seeds
Carrots 'Nantes Coreless’  Ferry-Morse Pre-Seeded Planting Strip
Carrots 'Bolero Nantes’  Renee’s Garden Seeds
Carrots 'Tricolor Circus Circus’  Renee’s Garden Seeds
Parsnips 'All American Heirloom’  Botanical Interests
Garlic Organic Trader Joe’s
Garlic 'Silver Rose’ (Saved from last year’s harvest)
Elephant Garlic (Saved from last year’s harvest)
Sweet Peas on trellis (Saved from last year’s harvest

New to the root vegetable bed this year are parsnips, radishes and tricolor carrots. I haven’t grown parsnips since I lived in Massachusetts. At the end of the season, I’d cover the carrots and parsnips with a deep leaf mulch or enclose them in a cold frame; then I could harvest them into the winter. Growth would stop, but they’d store nicely in the ground of my zone 5 garden. Did they sweeten a bit with the winter chill? I think so. Parsnips are needed, of course, for New England Boiled Dinner.

'Easter Egg’ radishes caught my fancy when I bought a little bunch at the farmer’s market. They add nice color and flavor to salads. They grow quickly and reward the sower with an early harvest from the root vegetable bed. These 'Easter Egg’ radishes are not like my Dad’s fat, red radishes that packed an unwelcome punch to my young taste buds. 

And these tricolor carrots, won’t they be fun?

October by John Updike

Succulent Pumpkins