Beetroot woe

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Gulumpah
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Beetroot woe

Post: # 171688Post Gulumpah
Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:07 am

Hello All

This year we grew a variety of veg in containers in our very small garden. Some things, like beans, tomatoes and spuds did well. But the beetroot and carrots were a disaster. In both cases the leaves looked fine but nothing happened below - just tiny. tiny carrots and beetroot so skinny as to be almost invisible.

We used, at my insistence, peat-free compost in all containers but the OH is now of the opinion that ordinary compost would've seen better results, but I really, really don't want to go down that route next year. Any thoughts?

Many thanks

G

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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 171693Post Green Aura
Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:25 am

I was just going to say them same then read Susie's!

So what she said :lol:

I'm guessing your new raised beds are full of new soil/compost, which is probably bursting to shove out some good leafy plants, with a sufficient root system to support the plant - not feed you :?

The other thing - for carrots (not sure about beetroot) they might like a little seaweed or lime to make the soil less acid.
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 171699Post healer
Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:16 am

Hi - I would suggest you look at the mineral mix of the compost. Usually they are aimed at "plant growing" - ie leaves so will be high in nitrogen. Some are aimed at tomato growing and they will be boosted with potassium (for fruit). What you want is low leaf growth and high root growth. So that is little nitrogen and high phosphorus. Much more of a difficulf one to buy in a bag.

If there are no bug or rot problem in the soil try using the same compost for another crop now that it is more depleated of nitrogen. If you can dig in some compost made from fat hen or purslane you will help the phosporus level - if not look for a mineral feed aimed at root crop with low N, low K, reasonable P !!

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Marc
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 171700Post Marc
Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:23 am

I would guess it's probably the compost. Although carrots don't need 'rich' soil they do need sufficient nutrients. Did you feed them through the season?
I would never grow veg in just bagged compost, I always mix my own with some soil, home made compost, manure etc. (sieved if necessary and mixed well.) I know using peat isn't enviromentally friendly but I've not yet found a peat-free commercial compost that performs as well as the old peat based ones.
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 171708Post Millymollymandy
Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:08 am

I grew carrots in pots of commercial potting compost this year too because I have such a bad carrot root fly problem. They didn't get very big. Normally I make my own potting mix for things like toms and peppers and sometimes add some molehill soil, but I didn't want anything that might contain root fly larvae (or eggs or whatever it is that they overwinter as). Well it was a waste of time really cos the ruddy things still found my carrots, and when they are only mini ones it doesn't leave anything much edible! :roll:

Just gonna buy them in future, they're much nicer than anything I've ever grown anyway! :mrgreen:
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Gulumpah
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 171721Post Gulumpah
Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:20 pm

Many thanks all for your speedy and helpful replies.

Ah, I should've remembered that carrots don't like fertile soil! Years ago I had an allotement and used 6X on it, great for some things but I ended up with lots and lots of splindly little carrots (each carrot seemed to have split into six). This year I may well have used tomato feed on them sometimes :oops:

I'll take into account all for next year - had no idea about the minerals, so thanks I've always been a 'bung in the ground and see what happens' type - time to apply myself a bit more :study: .

We hope to be moving early next year to somewhere with a bigger garden so we'll be able to expand from containers to soil ... stand by for more queries!

Thanks again

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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 183916Post tea
Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:26 am

mine did exactly the same :( I still have lovely beetroot leaves growing....but nothing else :(

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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 183921Post gdb
Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:41 am

I've never had problems growing Carrots. And I muck the beds for them every year. They grow big. And tasty. And I always have more than I can use. I know that you are not supposed to do this. That roots will fork and so on... but mine never seem to mind. And the odd one that does fork can be cut up and used straightaway. (I wonder whether the muck keeps the carrot fly away? With which I've never been pestered. Touch-wood.)

So my advice would be to add some proper well-rotted muck to the containers and make sure they never run out of moisture.

Growing them in containers can't be easy. And if you have any success at all you should feel very pleased with yourselves! :thumbright:
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 183962Post Minnesota
Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:30 pm

gdb wrote: I muck the beds for them every year.... So my advice would be to add some proper well-rotted muck to the containers and make sure they never run out of moisture.
OK, What is Muck ?
I assume something is lost in translation across the pond.

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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 183979Post grahamhobbs
Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:52 pm

Water!

I had exactly the same problem the first year I grew carrots in compost.

I wasn't watering them sufficiently. Unless you really give the compost a good soaking, only the top is getting watered and down below the compost can be quite dry. Compost if it dries out can be difficult to get wet again. Better to give a regular real soaking rather than a frequent sprinkle.

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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 184260Post Keaniebean
Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:34 pm

I saw them planting carrots on Gardeners world in big olive oil containers and they came out really well. I think they mixed sand in with their bags of compost but I dont know to what ratio.

I too have always been a bung it in and see girl, but the DH built me some lovely 2m x 1m raised beds this year so I hope my carrots do better, I only had a few tiddlers :(
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Re: Beetroot woe

Post: # 185532Post Gem
Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:33 pm

I had the same problems with my late carrots, they all came out weedy and sad looking. The early plantings did much better though and, even though I was pulling them too soon (financial strife making the allotment food more necessity than hobby) they were still giving the supermarket carrots a run for their money.

I stuck mine in the ground late March and kept them covered until they started sprouting and didnt loose many (if any) in spite of some late frosts..

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