It’s time to plant for strong root growth

It’s time to plant for strong root growth

Here in New Zealand, it’s good to sow seeds for strong root growth next week [which is after the full moon on Saturday 4th November 2017].

  • Especially good on Sunday 5th November 2017, then again on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th too.

 

The ground is warm, we’ve had good rains here in Auckland, maybe sow some root crops?

 

I might sow some more

  • daikon radish – larger seeds can be sown deeper so will stay more moist than smaller seeds nearer the surface and drying out [like carrots]. The white root is great to eat. Some people use the top green leaves too.20160927_172201
  • beetroot – ‘seed’ is a largish cluster of seeds so can also be planted deeper.  ‘Bulls blood’ or ‘Detroit red’ are some tried and true heritage varieties we use.
  • carrots

It’s a delight when we do grow carrots. The tiny seeds need to be planted close to the surface and kept moist.  Hot sun dries them out quickly – and they die fast.

One strategy I’ve heard when sowing carrots in hotter weather was to take 2 weeks off work, put a deck chair and sun umbrella by the carrot patch, take the hose and a drink, and sit there gently spraying the carrot patch often until they sprout and grow big enough to fend for themselves.

carrot-growing in hot times

Urban myth?

Or cover the seed with a plank of wood or hessian bags or similar. Check often and remove cover when they sprout. We find seed beds need covering with bird netting as blackbirds create chaos digging for worms, or the local cats think its a spot for them.

It’s best to sow carrot seeds directly in the ground as they dislike root disturbance being transplanted [they are very likely to bolt straight to seed and make no root for us to eat].

Why do carrots so often make odd-shaped roots?  When the ground is

  • hard,
  • clay,
  • rocky,
  • too rich with compost/manures/fertilizer.

The delicate seedlings are programmed to send roots downwards. As they grow down, when tiny roots contact hard spots [like rocks], they go round and grow more options [= forked roots]. They also avoid anything too rich in nutrients for the rootlets to process.

 

PS Seeds like ‘real’ water – preferably rain. Otherwise the nearest is tank water of stored rain. Then maybe bore water, last treated water from a mains supply.

One older gardener we knew would place all sorts of containers outside to catch the rain to water her seedlings. She used all sorts from teapots on – she also grew great veg!

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