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Root crops that can be left in the ground and harvested as needed thru the winter.  RSS feed

 
john muckleroy jr
Posts: 40
Location: nacogdoches,texas
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I'm looking for root crops that can be left in the ground and harvested as needed thru the winter.So far I've found one,I think,Jerusalem Artichokes.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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Mulch deep and cover to keep water from getting into the ground and you can leave many root crops in the ground carrots and parsnips actually seem to get sweeter after a bit of cold.
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I don't know your climate well, so maybe my ideas won't work by you. Here in Maine we can't harvest during the winter, with the ground frozen hard as a rock, but lots of folks leave parsnips in the ground, and "spring-dug" parsnips are said to be sweeter after a winter in the ground. I would think that you could leave carrots in the ground as well (you may want to mulch over them if the shoulders of the root are exposed). Other similar root crops would also probably work fine - horseradish, etc. Maybe potatoes, as long as it didn't get warm enough for them to start sprouting. Wild foods like dandelion and burdock would likely work as well.

Again, things might be different in your neck of the woods. I don't know what a series of freezing and thawing might do to roots still in the ground - maybe they'd be fine, maybe not. Hopefully someone from your area will chime in. Or, you could simply experiment with this next year in your garden and see what happens - leave a few roots in the ground and test them over the course of a winter.
 
John Elliott
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Where you are, everything. That's the nice thing about living in zones 8 and 9, the vegetable garden doubles as root cellar.
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 319
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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bee dog fish forest garden fungi solar
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I hear Sun Chokes(aka Jerusalem Artichokes) are a food source that stores better in the ground than out.

Also, the plant feeds and attracts the insects with it's flowers(sunflower cousin)... and provides all of that plant matter for either animal food/compost/etc.

They are perennial too!

I am growing myself some in a container next year... as I hear they are almost impossible to get rid of once you plant them somewhere.
 
John Elliott
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
Jerusalem Artichokes
I am growing myself some in a container next year... as I hear they are almost impossible to get rid of once you plant them somewhere.


They need the right conditions to be able to come back. The southeast wall of my shed apparently doesn't get enough sun, because they didn't come back the following year. However, out along the fence, bordering the neighbor's open field, they did all right. I say "all right" because while they resprouted the following year, they were in no way invasive or any threat of taking over. But then again, that area was 6" of very compacted dirt on top of heavy, heavy clay. I suppose to get a really good crop, I would have to till or loosen up the soil, and then they would really thrive.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Not exactly a root crop, but I just have to share-

I harvested a red cabbage yesterday. January 21st! It just hung out in the garden, endured sub zero nights, and was still in great condition when I harvested it yesterday. I never would have thought it possible, but I had so much cabbage in the fall that it just got left behind, and then I decided to leave it a bit longer as an experiment. Success!
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 319
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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bee dog fish forest garden fungi solar
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John Elliott wrote:
Marty Mitchell wrote:
Jerusalem Artichokes
I am growing myself some in a container next year... as I hear they are almost impossible to get rid of once you plant them somewhere.


They need the right conditions to be able to come back. The southeast wall of my shed apparently doesn't get enough sun, because they didn't come back the following year. However, out along the fence, bordering the neighbor's open field, they did all right. I say "all right" because while they resprouted the following year, they were in no way invasive or any threat of taking over. But then again, that area was 6" of very compacted dirt on top of heavy, heavy clay. I suppose to get a really good crop, I would have to till or loosen up the soil, and then they would really thrive.



That totally makes sense that they would need the right conditions to become an aggressive species. Since they are Native; they can't be considered "invasive" in my book anyways.

I live in a suburb... that used to be a growing field(classic). My yard is also an armored plate of clay that was brought in to "grade for proper drainage". I did discover I have some awesome topsoil about 3 feet down while digging a hole a while back.

I have read that the tubers will bulk up if they are hitting against something while growing. So if you were to grow sun chokes in a container... make sure it is plastic as they will almost bust through it. Supposedly that is how they compete with neighboring plants. Not just by growing tall and taking sun... but by swelling up their root tubers and choking the other plants nearby. I only heard this and have not experienced it yet. I will look for this post next fall and report back if I remember to.
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 319
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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Adam Klaus wrote:Not exactly a root crop, but I just have to share-

I harvested a red cabbage yesterday. January 21st! It just hung out in the garden, endured sub zero nights, and was still in great condition when I harvested it yesterday. I never would have thought it possible, but I had so much cabbage in the fall that it just got left behind, and then I decided to leave it a bit longer as an experiment. Success!



That cabbage sounds like a tough plant. I wonder if it is going to be super sweet for you too... since brassicas typically pump sugar into their foliage to protect themselves from colder temps below 40deg F.
 
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