Saturday, 17 March 2012

Root Veg from the Container Garden

I've been spring cleaning all my containers in readiness for a house move to Birmingham.  Today it was time to empty the roots containers and harvest the contents - beetroots, parsnips and carrots.

When I pulled the roots out, there were interesting results.  I probably planted the same quantity of all three but most of the harvest were beetroots.  I had a few parsnips although all the parsnips had good sized roots and only one carrot.

They were growing in containers about 30 cm deep by 90 cm long and there were two pots. 

All the roots were grown in spent compost that was home to tomatoes the previous year with a little scattering of wormery compost right at the base as a motivator for the roots to seek nutrients. 

I thought that the spent compost would be sufficiently poor for the roots, but maybe it was not poor enough. 

It was probably OK for the parsnips and the carrots as the parsnips formed great roots, but maybe not the right conditions for the beetroot. 

The beetroots didn't form nice, round beets.  Perhaps the soil was still too rich for them?  Another possibility is a lot of the beetroots were long, like carrots so perhaps that little bit of wormery compost treat at the base of the pots has encouraged them to seek the nutrients! 

It is looking likely that I will be growing in open ground next season so many more comparisons between the two styles of gardening to follow I'm sure! 

Towards the end of last season, I was trying to form a list of crops I found easy to grow in containers and to concentrate on these in the future and crops that don't grow so well in containers to grow them in open ground in the community gardens I support with growing advice.  Roots were on the list of things not to grow in containers as although they are not much effort, unless you count watering - I don't think there is such a high yield from them.

On a happy note for roots grown in containers, all the roots above provided me with my evening meal this evening.  I steamed the beetroot tops and roasted the roots and they were delicious!  I think the worms in the wormery will also be really happy to eat the trimmings from these organically grown veg too!

Do you grow roots in containers?  Do find them a success or a struggle?


  1. I grew some lovely little round parisian carrots last year in a container.

  2. I've heard they are good in containers. What soil did you use? Did you get nice full carrots?