beets Carrots Radishes Turnips

Transplanting Root Crop Seedlings

I’ve really had fun with winter sown seed this year. Just for the fun it, I’m starting some root crops that are usually traditionally seeded in the garden.

And they’re traditionally seeded directly in the garden because in most cases they do better that way.

But if you’re like me and want to start some beets, carrots, turnips, or radishes either inside or winter sownhere are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t sow too thickly.  Thinner sowing will make it easier to separate the transplants without damaging the roots.
  • Transplant as carefully as you can.  Damaging the roots can cause root crops to be malformed.
  • Be patient.  Transplanting can set them back a couple of weeks until their roots establish themselves again.
  • Mulch lightly with straw and continue to add more as they grow.
  • Have a cold frame or some row cover fabric ready to place over them should the forecast call for severely cold weather after they’re in the garden.
  • Learn from and enjoy the experience and don’t take your failures or your successes too seriously.

If you want to try to get a jump on the season and sow some beets, carrots, turnips, or radishes in a flat or container — go ahead.  As always there’s a risk  that you won’t be successful, but there’s always the possibility that you will be!

A Shining Example of What can Happen

A reader of TMG started carrots in a container her first year of gardening.  She transplanted them to her new garden bed and ended up with some of the most beautiful carrots you’ve ever seen! (No one ever told her carrots that they’re not suppose to like transplanting. 🙂 )

Final Thought

When this happens to you, you’ll be congratulating yourself for getting a head start on those delicious early root crops.


Related Posts:

Seed Starting – It’s Easy Even with Less than Perfect Conditions

You Can Plant in December


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Hi Theresa,
    I’m trying root crop transplanting for the first time this year, per your suggestion. Thanks for the encouragement. Will let you know the results!

  • It’ll be interesting to compare notes Gayle. Hope it’ll turn out that we are able to get a jump on the season. Fun anyway!
    Good luck!

  • So how did it go Theresa and Gayle? I have never been successful with carrots. This spring I even interplanted with radishes for the first time, no luck. Barely any even germinated. The radishes all germinated but I only had about 6 develop into radishes out of about 5 4-ft rows. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’m going to try starting some to transplant for this fall and see what happens.

  • Some radishes didn’t do at all, but I still had two months of many gorgeous radishes to enjoy each day. Many from transplants — many from direct seeding.

    The radishes I planted probably too early — didn’t do well at all. The ones direct seeded at the normal spring planting time — did great. So did the transplants.

    I was not as pleased with the carrots I grew last year, but think this year is going to be a winner. As always I started with transplants. (They just don’t want to germinate for me in the garden.)

    Some carrots I started in June and then transplanted to the garden when it started to get the leaves that look like carrots. They’re doing beautifully and should be ready by September.
    I planted more in July and have just transplanted those to the garden. I’m thinking if they do as well as the others are they’ll be ready by October.

    Transplanted Hakurei turnips were great this spring.
    Transplanted beets were my best ever.


  • Ok, I’m going to give that a try. What kind of carrots do you like best? Thanks!

  • I’m not the best person to ask about the variety of carrot to grow, Heather. I don’t grow that many carrots. It’s just not my favorite or most needed crop.
    What I’m growing now is Red Cored Chantenay that I bought from Annie’s Heirlooms. And Danvers Half Longs that I bought from Pinetree Garden Seeds.

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