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Growing root vegetables.

I am new to gardening, any advice would be very welcome.
My husband has just made me a 8x4 raised bed on the lawn it is 18 inches deep. He put a double layer of thick carboard at the bottom, I then added 120 litres of farm manure and on top of that 1.000 litres of a mixture of organic compost and dark rich topsoil. I still have around 6-7 inches to go before the bed is full so I asked a colleague if I should now order mulch to top up the bed but, when he heard I wanted to plant winter vegetables like parsnip, carrots, swede and onions he told me root vegetables wouldn't be any good because of the manure and that it would have helped if the thick carboard had gone on top of the manure. I cannot undo what's been done, I really want to grow root vegetables, is there anything I can do to improve the situation so I can grow root vegetables either now or in the near future or will I never be able to grow them in this raised bed?
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  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 630
    If the manure is at the bottom and you fill up with soil then unless you are growing extra long carrots it shouldn’t be that much of a problem.  Plants want to grow! 

    But it is getting very late for this year, so you’d better get a move on...
  • SkylarksSkylarks East MidlandsPosts: 257
    I think you’ll be ok growing root veg after a year or two. Just grow something else for now and then after a year, do a test of root veg ie just plant a couple and see how they do. I know manure isn’t good for carrots (can’t remember why) but not sure about other root veg. 
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 659
    Carrots and parsnips tend to grow abnormally when they access to lots of enriched soil/manure they will have lots of twisted roots on each plant. Generally speaking when veg growing you have a 3rd of the ground heavily enriched, a 3rd topped up with some compost and a 3rd with none on a yearly rotation this allows you to grow the different crops/veg. I'm not an expert and there's loads of veg growers on here. It's not a permanent problem 
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 14,616
    Bit late for root crops now. If you can get some brassica plants, I would get them in. Still OK to sow Kale and you could get a row of  sugar snap peas in.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,786
    A good time to sow chard too ... it’ll keep rowing slowly over winter to provide you with occasional pickings, especially in milder spells, and then lots more in the spring. Then when it puts up a flower spike pull them up and start again. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • nick615nick615 Posts: 423
    Whether swedes, turnips and beetroot might grow, I don't know, but there's absolutely NO point in growing veg that won't be edible.  If you imagine a carrot or parsnip, the seed will germinate and the root will then begin growing downwards looking for both water and nutrition. Ideally the two will be combined which forces the root to head in one direction and you produce the standard shape.  In your bed there's goodness everywhere so the roots become ill disciplined and head in all directions.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,839
    You can probably grow some beetroot and maybe turnips if you can find some plugs to plant.   However, depth seeking roots such as carrots and parsnips are best left till next year.

    Too late to sow now but if you can find a courgette or squash plant in the GC that would enjoy the conditions as long as you keep them watered and brassicas such as purple sprouting, cavolo nero, curly kale will see you thru winter and into spring as will Swiss chard.   

    In autumn you could sow some broad beans such as aquadulce which overwinter well and will give you an earlier crop than spring sown.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BraidmanBraidman Posts: 113
    .

    Manure and root crops don't mix, give it a season or so before you try.

    Waste of time trying to grow swedes as they are a field crop and need lots of space, which you don't have, and a long time to mature. 

    I have just sown once again, beetroot, carrots, turnips and kohlrabi, they might not get to a great size but they are worth growing!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,839
    This might help explain abit about crop needs and rotations - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=124  It won't be a good idea to grow root veg in there year after year anyway so think about what you can grow this year and how you can either have a second and maybe a third bed or divide your current one into 3 for future rotations.    

    To be honest, carrots and turnips are so cheap in the shops that I think you may be better off growing more expensive vegetables or varieties that are hard to find or which just taste better freshly picked - tomatoes, fennel, summer and winter salad leaves,  strawberries, some of the Chinese leaves.   If you use a lot of it garlic is a good crop to grow and, like broad beans, can be planted in late autumn so your bed is working all year round.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,283
    edited 5 July
    remac said:
    I am new to gardening, any advice would be very welcome.
    My husband has just made me a 8x4 raised bed on the lawn it is 18 inches deep. He put a double layer of thick carboard at the bottom, I then added 120 litres of farm manure and on top of that 1.000 litres of a mixture of organic compost and dark rich topsoil. I still have around 6-7 inches to go before the bed is full so I asked a colleague if I should now order mulch to top up the bed but, when he heard I wanted to plant winter vegetables like parsnip, carrots, swede and onions he told me root vegetables wouldn't be any good because of the manure and that it would have helped if the thick carboard had gone on top of the manure. I cannot undo what's been done, I really want to grow root vegetables, is there anything I can do to improve the situation so I can grow root vegetables either now or in the near future or will I never be able to grow them in this raised bed?

    I'm going to go a little against the advice already given.


    A lot of organic growers do grow root crops directly into manure.

    You can check Charles Dowding on YouTube to see it for yourself.


    As a traditional grower, it did perplex me because of the often given advice about not growing root crops in freshly manured ground because it causes forking. For sure it does, as I've seen it myself.


    The consensus as the moment, is mixing manure with soil 'confuses' plants like carrots and they do not know which way is best to grow, so they fork.

    If it is all manure, the problem does not occur. They might be quite 'hairy', as more developed fine roots is often a consequence of growing in very fertile medium.

    There is a short article here that covers it from Stephanie Hafferty

    https://nodighome.com/2019/04/02/how-to-sow-no-dig-parsnips-carrots-and-other-root-veg/


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