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poorly developed root veggies

Messages posted to thread:

Shari03-Jul-06 10:13 AM EST 1b   
Michelle. L.03-Jul-06 11:34 AM EST 5b   
Shari07-Jul-06 01:52 PM EST 6   
Nancy11-Jul-06 04:45 PM EST 5   
Shari11-Jul-06 07:50 PM EST 6   
Verena13-Jul-06 01:09 PM EST 3   
Shari14-Jul-06 11:43 AM EST 6   
Michelle. L.15-Jul-06 03:49 AM EST 5b   
Shari15-Jul-06 10:54 AM EST 6   
Shari25-Jul-06 12:20 PM EST 6   
Patricia21-Aug-06 08:13 PM EST 5a   
Shari22-Aug-06 04:14 PM EST 6   

Subject: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 1b
Date: 03-Jul-06 10:13 AM EST

All my root vegetables have grown ENORMOUS leaves but the roots stay small. Several of my radishes never really developed at all. I am thinking I clearly have an overabundance of nitrogen! How can I adjust the soil to rebalance it & encourage better root development?

I built raised beds & filled them with a garden mix from a local supplier - it's a mix of soil, manure and sand.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Michelle. L.
Zone: 5b
Date: 03-Jul-06 11:34 AM EST

I have raised beds for my veggie garden as well.. aren't they great? What kind of manure is in there? If it is chicken manure, that has alot of nitrogen in it..may take a year or two for that to settle down.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 07-Jul-06 01:52 PM EST

I honestly have no idea what kind of manure is in there, Michelle. Thanks for the tip though, that's good to know for future reference.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 11-Jul-06 04:45 PM EST


You and I have exactly the same problem.

Everything of mine that's above the soil line grows like gang-busters, but root crops will simply not form properly. Can't grow radishes, carrots, onions, beets, etc. But I get bumper crops of cucumbers, beans, tomatos, zucchini, peppers, peas....... so I'm not convinced that the nitrogen is too high. Can you grow these, or are they mostly leaves, too?

I've tried a pH test, as soil that's too acidic can be a problem, but it tests as neutral and an experiment with adding lime hasn't made a difference. The nitrogen doesn't test exceptionally high either.

I use some sheep manure, but the rest of the fertilizer is for veggies and a lower first number. If you bought manure in bags, then it's either sheep or cattle manure, not chicken. Otherwise, my soil is a sandy loam, which should be just right for all of these, especially carrots.

Needless to say, I'm baffled, too!

My garden club has suggested that I get a good soil test done, as I might be missing some vital trace nutrient. None of the other area experts have been able to help either.

Let me know if you get any answers. I'll do likewise.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 11-Jul-06 07:50 PM EST

Thanks for your post Nancy. Yes my problem is exactly the same as yours - tomatoes, beans, peppers & peas all produce like mad, and the lettuce & spinach have been amazing (although my spinach bolted very fast, even before the weather really warmed up.)

I didn't mix the soil myself, I bought a premixed blend from a landscape supplier, so I have no idea what is actually in it. Even so I think there's a fair bit of clay in it - the soil where I live is very clayey and I had to do some major amendments to my flower beds.

I will ask around here too and get a good soil test. If I get any answers I'll post 'em.

Good luck!

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Verena
Zone: 3
Date: 13-Jul-06 01:09 PM EST

Silly question, but is there any chance you're not thinning them enough?? I ask because two years ago when I planted my garden I got busy and didn't do my thinning, and got zero return on my radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, etc. Same as you both, all top, no bottom. This year I did a smaller garden, but have been doing my thinning, and have nice little beets forming and the carrots are still small, but doing better than last year. Also, my mom informed me that they like to have the soil lightly disturbed around them, so I have started to hoe along both sides of the rows and that seems to be helping (while keeping the weeds down too.) Good luck! Verena

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 14-Jul-06 11:43 AM EST

Thanks Verena, I did think at first that could be the problem, but the problem continued even with using the Square Foot Gardening method (by Mel Bartholomew, check out his website). In this method you plant the seeds as far apart as the plants will eventually be spaced, so there is no thinning required.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Michelle. L.
Zone: 5b
Date: 15-Jul-06 03:49 AM EST

To Nancy and Shari: I am baffled at what could be the problem and am looking forward to reading the answer if you can get one!!! Why don;t you ask on the Live Chat portion on this site?? Art Drysdale is the host and will most likely have your answer. If you don't go on I might just ask because I am curious as to what is causing this!! Haven't heard of that before.. if you do go on it is on Sundays at 10 or 1:00 eastern time. Good Luck!! What a disappointment for that to happen which is another reason I want to know so I can avoid it happening to me!!! SHari: if it's your carrots and if you like green onions [ easy to freeze] and since you live so close you are also welcome to come get some of mine [ although they need a bit more time yet to get bigger]I went a little crazy planting this year and have way too many!!!

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 15-Jul-06 10:54 AM EST

Thanks Michelle for the tip, if I'm around at 10 I will try the live chat.

I have lots of green onions so unfortunately I won't offer to take those off your hands! It was radishes and salad turnips that prompted the post, so far the carrots & beets seem to be developing but need a bit more time, like yours!

If I do want carrots I'll let you know!

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 25-Jul-06 12:20 PM EST

An update, my beets seem to be developing fine, carrots are still small but I think they were overcrowded, they seem to be coming along a little better now. We shall see.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Patricia (iris1@rogers.com)
Zone: 5a
Date: 21-Aug-06 08:13 PM EST

Though it seems really cruel at the time, after my carrot seedlings are maybe 4 inches high, I thin to 1 full inch apart. Wow, everything looks miserable and sparse. I hill up the soil gently on either side of each row. Then, slowly but surely, the carrots fill out... the bed needs to be hilled up high, like about 6 to 8 inches. Today August 21, I harvested 6 beautiful carrots, no less than a foot in length. Perfectly straight and beautiful.

Subject: RE: poorly developed root veggies
From: Shari (sharishabits@telus.net)
Zone: 6
Date: 22-Aug-06 04:14 PM EST

Thanks Patricia, I'll try that. My carrots are already filling out nicely.

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