Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Combining Root Crops

by National Gardening Association Editors

Interplanting and succession planting are two ways to extend your harvest season. Here's how.

Interplanting

In addition to radishes, you can plant any root crop with other vegetables and get terrific results. Combine carrots and lettuce in a row, for example, or plant turnips with spinach, chard or lettuce. For a real smorgasbord, mix carrots, radishes and onions in one row. Every time you harvest one crop, you cultivate the row. The remaining roots benefit from the additional room you leave. Talk about growing a gourmet salad in one garden spot!

When you decide to combine your plants, choose partners that won't smother each other. For instance, the fast-growing cool-season crops such as lettuce and spinach will be ready to harvest before the slower-growing root crops need the same sun and space. You should harvest or pull the first crop completely to guarantee the success of the second.

Interplanting works especially well in wide rows. Just plant less of each crop than you normally would, and enjoy a much greater variety of vegetables without increasing the size of your garden.

Succession Planting

To have a constant supply of fresh root crops through the summer and fall, you can plant small groups of seeds two to three weeks apart, starting in early summer. Fast-maturing root crops like carrots, beets, radishes and turnip greens will be harvestable 50 to 60 days after seeding and can extend your root crop season.

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