Carrots, Beets & Turnips Oh My!

Oh, and let’s not forget parsnips, rutabegas, radishes and onions if we’re going to discuss root vegetables. I’d add in salsify but I haven’t tried that yet. Potatoes and garlic aren’t started by seed so we’re going to ignore them for this post.

My beef is with seed-started root veggies. It’s usually not recommended to start them indoors and then transplant them. Well, except for onions. I always start them indoors and they transplant well. So we’ll ignore onions as well.

Beets, turnips and carrots in particular, give me a headache. Their germination always seems low assuming they germinate at all. And then, just to tease me, some years are phenomenal (like the year I harvested the carrots on the left).

Parsnips used to give me the same headache. And then I started germinating them before planting them. I put them in a tupperware container with a wet paper towel and seal it and stick it in a cabinet. I check on it once a week and when the majority of them have roots popping out of the seed coat I gently place them in a trench, root tip down and then gently cover them with a bit of soil. In about a week or two they start popping up. I find that this is a much better way to plant them even though it’s more labor intensive. It doesn’t waste as much seed either because you’re not having to thin the seeds. The trick though is to plant them before the root develops too much. The last thing you want is twisted forked roots.

So this year I’m germinating/starting carrots, beets, turnips, rutabegas and of course onions before setting them out.