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Small potatoes... and all other root veg

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Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  jessica.owenrose on 8/12/2012, 4:15 pm

I live in San Antonio, TX and first tried growing russet, sweet potato and whatever type of organic red I got at Whole Food that grew eyes before we ate them. I planted them in mid-March (we've had a really warm and early summer) and I pulled them out today and got 2 russets barely half the size of my palm, a sweet potato barely the length of my thumb and a handful of red potatoes about the size of my thumbnail. Why so small??? Or is this what I should expect? This isn't even close to the size of the potatoes they came from. Also, I tend to have the same problem with carrots (smaller around than a pencil, a couple of inches long), parsnips (see carrots) and beets (about the size of my thumbnail), although the ones I planted last fall were a little closer to the size they were supposed to be according to the seed pack. Any suggestions? If I want to feed my family of 3, I'll have to dedicate the entire backyard to root veg! Smile Everyone else in the neighborhood seems to have "normal" sized vegetables.
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  efirvin on 8/13/2012, 5:09 pm

Hi Jessica!
I don't know the answer to your questions but am eager to hear from the more experienced sfg people here! I have had similar problems with my beets, radishes, turnips and some of the potatoes.
Evelyn from zone 4 Wyoming
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  Kelejan on 8/14/2012, 2:48 am

One of the problems could be too much nitrogen which produces leaves at the expense of roots.
Or maybe a shortage of one of the other thinks, I it up to see what is good for the roots
Please help us, you more experienced gardeners, please; I don't want to pass on incorrect information.
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  GWN on 8/14/2012, 9:48 am

Since my garden is too large to change it over to mels mix totally, I had some potatoes this year in mels mix and some in the ground and the ones in the ground seemed to do much better. I have found that some crops do better in mels mix than others.
I have some tomatoes in mels mix and some in dirt and the ones in mels mix are doing MUCH better, however I have added a lot of extra compost and fish fertilizer to them
The beans are just incredible in mels mix. The carrots seem to be doing very well, in mels mix. THe peppers not. Kale, spinach, and artichokes have done very well.
Because of space limitations I did my beets in soil. I have read that Beets have a need for boron.
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  jessica.owenrose on 8/14/2012, 1:50 pm

Yes, I find that Mel's Mix seems to work well for some things and not others, but funnily enough, not the same things you mentioned Very Happy

My peppers are doing great, but I have them in their own large containers (20 in pots)--my Dad swears they prefer to be alone, and maybe that's the case with the potatoes. My strategy this fall is to plant them in their own containers. I have an 8x2 raised bed that I could dedicate to the root veg and maybe make some alterations to the soil. I haven't posted this question to my local agricultural extension/master gardeners yet, so I'll let you know when I find out more info. Our natural soil is primarily clay and riddled with bamboo, so the raised bed/containers is my best bet in our neighborhood.
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  jillintx on 8/14/2012, 6:10 pm

Hi Jessica,

I am in the DFW area and had asked a similar question a few months ago. It was suggested that root crops may need some bone meal added in, especially until I am able to use all "homemade" compost. (Unfortunately I can't give you the results of adding in the bone meal because this fall garden will be the first time growing them since getting that advice.)

Good luck!
Jill
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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  elliephant on 8/15/2012, 9:51 pm

jessica.owenrose wrote:Yes, I find that Mel's Mix seems to work well for some things and not others, but funnily enough, not the same things you mentioned Very Happy

My peppers are doing great, but I have them in their own large containers (20 in pots)--my Dad swears they prefer to be alone, and maybe that's the case with the potatoes. My strategy this fall is to plant them in their own containers. I have an 8x2 raised bed that I could dedicate to the root veg and maybe make some alterations to the soil. I haven't posted this question to my local agricultural extension/master gardeners yet, so I'll let you know when I find out more info. Our natural soil is primarily clay and riddled with bamboo, so the raised bed/containers is my best bet in our neighborhood.

How funny, as I've always read that peppers like to "rub shoulders" so I've always planted at least 2 next to each other. My peppers have gone crazy this year.

The root crops that I tried over the winter didn't do much and I haven't had much luck with root crops in MM. But I added bone meal and finally had some success this spring. Have high hopes for root crops this winter!

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Re: Small potatoes... and all other root veg

Post  jessica.owenrose on 8/16/2012, 10:03 pm

Bone meal it is then! I think I'll devote one box to root veg and add some bone meal to that and see how it works. Last winter's carrots were the only thing that sort of came out normal, so maybe it's the temperature as well...Thanks for all the input!
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