Gardening Articles: Care :: Plant Care Techniques

Growing Root Crops (page 3 of 3)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Watering

Root crops need about one inch of water per week. If you can supply this water evenly, with no long dry spells to inhibit the growth of the roots and greens, you'll encourage a healthy crop. The exception to the one inch per week rule of thumb is the light sprinklings you should provide after sowing the seeds and until the seedlings emerge. Once the seedlings are up, return to the following watering habits:

Water when your garden needs it, not just by a calendar schedule. Don't be tempted to water your plants if the greens are drooping occasionally in the late afternoon sun -- this is normal. But, if they look wilted before eleven o'clock in the morning, they need water.

Another mistake gardeners often make is to give their gardens many light waterings instead of a few thorough soakings. Once your seeds are sprouted, soak the soil when it needs it to a depth of four to six inches. By watering deeply you encourage the taproot to grow down seeking the moisture. Shallow waterings promote shallow root growth, which is exactly what you don't want, especially if you live in a drought-prone area.

How much does it take to water your garden to a depth of four to six inches? If you're using a sprinkler, set a pan in the area you're watering. When the water is an inch deep in the pan, the nearby soil will be sufficiently soaked-about six inches down.

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