root crop problem (too much nitrogen) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have raised beds for my garden. I have been adding compost, leaves, and other nutrients for 5 years, and still have problems raising root crops. The beds contain plenty of nitrogen...everything is very leafy and green. But root crops are pitiful. I get nickle sized beets, very few small potatoes, 4 grungy sweet potatoes, small turnips. Even the roots of beans, etc are small and often don't develop well. What does this garden need? Thanks, Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, October 22, 2001


Response to root crop problem

Mary, you answered your own question. You have to much nitrogen and while some is fine for beets and such potatoes do not like nitrogen,fresh manure or lime.You need to add some phosphorus which you can get by applying "bonemeal" (3 lbs. per 100 sq. feet)or "wood ashes" (5 lbs. per 100 sq. feet)to your beets and turnips. Do not use "wood ashes" to your potatoes cause scab can form. And make sure you water,water,water.

-- TomK(mich) (, October 22, 2001.

Response to root crop problem

Maybe a wee tad of boron wouldn't hurt too. Root crops seem to need that and if you are deficient you may not get good roots. Maybe a sample could be tested? Tom is right though..too much nitrogen makes for lovely greens and pitiful roots. Good luck!

-- Alison in N.S. (, October 23, 2001.

Response to root crop problem

Mary, You might also want to increase the potassium which helps with good root growth. The best way is a seaweed foliar spray or a dried seaweed product added to the beds. Using seaweed sprays on a regular basis also helps to lessen fungus problems. Good luck. Sherry

-- Sherry S, N.Fl (, October 23, 2001.

Response to root crop problem

Thanks everyone. I didn't realize that a lot of nitrogen would be detrimental to roots. I knew it was good for foliage, but didn't realize it would harm roots. I just thought I was deficient in something. I always compost my manure before using, so I thought that would contain all my garden needs. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, October 23, 2001.

Your best bet is to do a soil test to find out exactly what is in your garden. If you keep guessing at what you think you need to add, you may end up with too much of something else, in addition to the nitrogen. Adding materials like uncomposted leaves and sawdust can help tie up some of the excess nitrogen, or you may just want to grow heavy nitrogen feeders like lettuce this year.

-- Steve - TX (, October 23, 2001.

Most of our soils around here are acidic (PH below 7) which will result in poor root crops. Many people add gypsum to the soil to get the PH up closer to 7. It can usually be found in 50# bags at farm or garden supply stores.

-- fred (, October 26, 2001.

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