Gardening is a cheap, fun, and rewarding hobby, but it can be daunting to get started. If you need more space or are still trying to figure out where to start, container gardening is a great option.
It allows you to get your hands dirty and grow various vegetables on your patio or balcony. Here are seven root vegetables that are perfect for growing in containers.
Beets are a type of root vegetable that grows well in containers. They grow best in full sun but will do well in partial shade. Beets need well-drained soil and should be watered regularly. One way to tell if your beets need water is to check the leaves.
If they’re wilting, it’s time to water your plants. When harvesting beets, leave at least two inches of the stem attached to the beetroot. This will help the plant continue to grow.
Radishes are fast-growing root vegetables that are perfect for container gardens. They can even be grown in pots as small as six inches across. Radishes prefer full sun but will also do well in partial shade. Radishes need loose, well-drained soil and should be watered regularly—about 1-2 inches per week.
When harvesting radishes, pull them up by the greens rather than tugging on the roots so you don’t damage the plant. Radishes are best harvested when they’re about two inches in diameter, but they can be left to grow larger if you want milder-tasting radishes.
Turnips are another type of root vegetable that grows well in containers gardeners often overlook turnips since they’re so easy to find in grocery stores.
However, freshly harvested turnips have a much sweeter flavor than store-bought ones that have been sitting around for weeks. They also happen to be very easy to grow. Turnips prefer full sun but will also tolerate partial shade. They need loose, well-drained soil and should be watered regularly.
When harvesting, turnips cut the greens off at the base of the plant leaving about two inches of stem attached.
To avoid damaging the root, it’s best to harvest turnips with a small gardening fork. You can eat turnips as soon as they’re big enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but they’ll taste sweeter if you wait until they’re three or four inches in diameter.
Carrots are another root vegetable that’s perfect for container gardening. They do well in full sun but will also do well in partial shade. Carrots need loose, well-drained soil and should be watered regularly.
When harvesting carrots, pull them up by the greens rather than tugging on the roots. This will help prevent damage to the plant. You can harvest carrots as soon as they’re big enough to eat—usually about two inches in diameter. However, if you wait until they’re larger, they’ll be even sweeter.
Rutabagas look like large turnips and belong to the same family of plants. They have a slightly bitter taste and are often used in cooked dishes rather than eaten raw. Rutabagas prefer full sun but will also tolerate partial shade. They need loose, well-drained soil and should be watered regularly.
When harvesting rutabagas, cut the greens off at the base of the plant, similar to how you would harvest turnips. However, rutabagas are much larger than turnips, so you’ll need a sharp knife rather than a gardening fork. Rutabagas can range in size from one pound to eight pounds. But for the best flavor, try to harvest them when they’re between two and three pounds.
These seven vegetables are just a few of the many types of root vegetables that can be grown in containers. With proper care and attention, most root vegetables will thrive. In addition to turnips, carrots, and radishes, consider adding potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, or garlic to your container garden. Happy planting.