Now this might sound pretty interesting and appealing to you. Growing leafy veggies, salad greens or small shrub plants is usually what we do in containers or in balconies. But why stop there? It’s time to think outside the box, for the box! Yes, it is possible to successfully grow carrots and radishes in balconies. For that purpose, firstly gather all the things required.
- Containers –
As carrots and radishes are root vegetables, they require deep pots for growing. Prefer a container with at least 12 inches of depth, the more the better. They would require their fair share of space to grow too so take a container with good diameter (approximately 8 to 10 inches). This will fit around 15 to 20 carrots depending upon the varieties. If you are choosing to grow round radishes then the containers can be a little shallow.
- Soil –
This factor is very important for root veggies as they won’t grow if the soil isn’t right. Underground vegetables need porous and easy to penetrate soil in order to grow perfect and beautifully in shape. Sandy loamy soil works best which is highly porous. If you are making your own soil mix, keep the sandy soil ratio a little higher to make the potting mix loose for the veggies to grow. You can add compost, garden soil, cocopeat and sand in 1:1:1:1 ratio respectively.
Which varieties to grow?
There are multiple options available for you to choose from.
In case of carrots danvers and nantes will work best for containers as they can grow upto 7 inches.
Radishes are of two types basically – round or oblong/ cylindrical. Round varieties are more suitable for containers as they won’t go too deep. You have multiple options to choose from such as watermelon radish, pink radish, daikon white radish (long type) etc.
When to grow carrots and radishes?
These root vegetables are mostly grown in cooler climates. So for Indian conditions, you can sow them around October or November. If your area have long winters you can even plant them around February.
Sowing and Spacing
The seeds of carrots are very small so plant them near to the surface and loosely cover with a thin layer of soil. In case of radish, you can sow them a little deep (3 – 4 cm) without worrying. It is important to provide optimum spacing to these veggies as they can get crowded easily which will affect their growth. The optimum distance between two plants should be between 50 to 70 cm.
What about pollination?
Interestingly, we consume the roots of these plants and their seeds which are formed after pollination only. So even in absence of pollinators you can enjoy these root veggies.
Both of them require around 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. As they are grown in winters the days will be short and sunlight will be limited.
Regularly water the plants and keep the soil damp. Too much water can kill oxygenation which can rot the roots. If you feel that top soil is dry then irrigate immediately.
Root veggies are pretty easy to spot when they mature. About 3/4th or 1 inch of root will pop out with vibrant colours. You can dig them up with a fork and pull them out gently. It takes around 70 to 80 days for carrots while radishes mature in just 20 to 30 days. You can plant radishes regularly and consume them frequently.
Carrots are loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene along with lots of fibre which is good for digestion and keeps blood sugar level in control. Radish provides antioxidants which will keep your body young and important minerals such as calcium and potassium.
So, this winter season, grow your own root veggies and enjoy the process as well as the end product.
Happy gardening folks!