17 votes
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How can I tell when root vegetables are ripe?

Well, it is so easy, it will probably surprise you: Beets and carrots grow partly above the soil, especially when they mature. Especially beets - you may assume that about half of the thick, fleshy ...
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  • 15.5k
13 votes

How can I tell when root vegetables are ripe?

Most root foods don't actually "ripen" and can be harvested at any time. If you're looking to maximize the size of the root, some things like carrots and beets will start to show the crown of the root ...
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9 votes
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What to do about carrots that don't seem to be growing?

I can think of a couple of possible issues that could cause otherwise healthy carrots to not grow well or to appear not to be growing well. One, carrots prefer cooler temperatures for maximum growth. ...
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  • 7,707
9 votes

Rollie pollies - are they harmful to vegetables?

The wood at the bottom of the bed looks pretty dark in comparison to the rest of the side. It's most likely that the woodlice are feeding off a decaying box, rather than anything in the bed. They'll ...
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  • 1,023
9 votes

Is it okay to grow root vegetables in soil enriched by manure?

There are two possible problems that could come from using manure on root vegetables, one of which only applies to fresh manure and the other is more applicable to fresh manure also. The first, and ...
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9 votes

Is it okay to grow root vegetables in soil enriched by manure?

There is a big difference between manure from ruminants (e.g. cows) and non-ruminants (e.g. horses, chickens, etc). Non-ruminant herbivores produce poo which is relatively bulky and contains a lot ...
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9 votes
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What are the best garden uses for 5 gallons of used coffee beans?

We get 30 litres of coffee grounds once a month from the local deli. We're on a list of people who take the stuff to stop it going into landfill. It just goes straight into our compost pile. Newly ...
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8 votes

Gardening calendar for vegetable beds

Your idea of green manure in winter is a good one, beans help put some nitrogen back into the soil. Otherwise the most simple rule for rotation is to leave it a while between plantings of things in ...
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8 votes

Cleaning homegrown vegetables prior to consumption

Just wash them all in clean tapwater - the hardest are the leafy greens, so the way to do that is immersion in a sink full of water, then picking out the leaves and running them directly under the tap,...
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  • 129k
7 votes

How can I tell when root vegetables are ripe?

For carrots it depends on the type. The seed packet will give the best idea on how many days it will take, but here are some general guidelines: Baby carrots: 50-60 days Mature carrots: around 75 ...
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7 votes
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Growing seeds outdoors

If the soil temperature is adequate, the seeds are good, the depth is correct, then likely the seeds are rotting in the ground or are being eaten by animal life. That's why people use seed mixes to ...
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7 votes

Why are we instructed not to use manure before planting carrots?

I grow carrots and I don't believe roots branching off has anything to do with manure.i use kelp for manure. I sift my soil and mix it with sand and I have perfect 16 to 18in carrots every time with ...
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  • 71
7 votes

Can I eat carrots with wormholes in them?

Chop the carrots up, just to make sure. They're most likely holes left by larvae of the carrot fly, and they may long have left and turned into flies. Even if you do inadvertently cook one in the soup,...
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7 votes

Cleaning homegrown vegetables prior to consumption

If you subscribe to the hygiene hypothesis, then there's no need to wash anything. If you're not keen on eating insects and eggs, then a good immersion in warm salty water removes insects, and ...
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7 votes

How can I grow ginger in my backyard?

You should really wait till late winter (in pots if its not warm enough outdoors) or spring time to plant, but assuming it's ginger root you're after, then yes, you can buy it from the grocery store - ...
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6 votes
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Garlic scapes drooping during a cold winter without much snow. Will they survive?

Yes, cold paired with no snow cover is hard on top growth, but garlic cloves will survive the winter in zone 6b (where I am also, incidentally). In my area, it's common for the top growth to die back ...
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  • 51.5k
6 votes

When should I harvest my carrots?

It depends when you want them. They should last until winter in the ground without bolting. Carrots are normally biennial, and will bolt during season 2. You can harvest them at any time while growing,...
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6 votes
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Why do my radishes have voids in them?

If radishes start to get these "holes" (I only know the German term, sorry, edits welcome), it means woody cells have started to form and the plant is preparing to flower (= starting to bolt). A ...
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6 votes
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Right time to move vegetable plants outdoors

You can get the average last frost date for your area from various sources, such as this one from UC Ag Extension, or one I cannot seem to find for your area from the National Weather Service. What ...
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6 votes

Is it okay to grow root vegetables in soil enriched by manure?

For pathogen concerns, stock/standard advice often enshrined in regulations is "not less than 120 days before harvest." So if you are adding fresh steer poop (which you should not, in most cases) do ...
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6 votes
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What is this root "vegetable"?

I think what you have here is a slightly misshapen Sugar Beet. Both Beetroot and Sugar Beets are Beta vulgaris, they're just different cultivars. The seeds are identical so telling them apart at ...
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6 votes
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What USDA zones can I grow Yacon in?

Yes, you can, provided you have a warm and sunny spot - like where tomatoes would be happy. Currently there are ongoing promising studies from the University of Hohenheim regarding commercial ...
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6 votes

Which root edibles can be harvested in the following years after they are planted?

You could plant sunchockes, otherwise called Jerusalem Artichoke, earth apple, topinambour. This was widely used during WW2 in remote campaign places in France at least. And it will grow beautiful ...
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6 votes
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Why did my sunchokes barely produce?

While wild sunchokes may grow from a meadow, they don't produce like John Kohler's do either. For production, I'd keep the soil soft, and all other plants away. Lots of compost would help a lot. Deep, ...
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6 votes

What relevance does fungal dominance have to a vegetable garden?

I'm not sure it's something you should worry about for home grown vegetables. The soil will contain mycorrhizae of various fungi anyway, though unfortunately, during the planting process, you are ...
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  • 129k
5 votes

Is it okay to grow root vegetables in soil enriched by manure?

Root vegetables should be just as fine as any other root plant in my mind. They will take in those nutrients and everything like any other. I say they will be fine and that is that. Maybe they were ...
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5 votes
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When should I harvest my carrots?

When you are going to eat them. Mulch heavily over the row when frost comes to keep the ground from freezing too much, and dig as needed through the winter. Tastiest and best storage. If you have a ...
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  • 18.4k
5 votes

Why are we instructed not to use manure before planting carrots?

Fresh manure also can transfer E. Coli to garden vegetables, so you should always make sure your manure is well composted, for around 3-4 months. If it's still smells very strongly, it's probably too ...
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5 votes
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Carrots grown in my backyard look different

The outside is just fine. Supermarkets and the farms that feed them throw away carrots that aren't "perfect", giving the myth that there is exactitude to the shape of the carrots The inside is a ...
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5 votes

What is this root "vegetable"?

I think it is really a beetroot (Beta vugaris). Just there are many different sorts. This seems something in direction of Swiss chard. Probably the seeds got mixed.
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