Edible Displays: Tempting Roots

Vintage wooden crates, terra cotta pots and an old burlap bag combine to form a shabby chic collection of containers for easy-to-grow root crops.

Crate Containers Best for Root Garden Vegetables

Crate Containers Best for Root Garden Vegetables

Burgundy-stemmed beet leaves and feathery carrot foliage offer a textural contrast in the two crates, while vivid magenta dwarf Cosmos picks up the color of the beet plant. The potatoes produce a mass of dark green foliage to set off the display and a bag full of tubers come early summer.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Burgundy-stemmed beet leaves and feathery carrot foliage offer a textural contrast in the two crates, while vivid magenta dwarf Cosmos picks up the color of the beet plant. The potatoes produce a mass of dark green foliage to set off the display and a bag full of tubers come early summer.

Step 1: Choose Containers

Select wooden crates that are 20 inches-by-8 inches, a terra cotta pot that is 6 inches in diameter or a large burlap bag. The containers should suit an informal space with a cottage-garden style. Use multipurpose soil or soil-based compost, and ensure the plants receive full sun and are sheltered from wind.

Step 2: Go Shopping

Buy the following plants: three Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata’ plants, one packet beet ‘Boltardy’ seeds, one packet carrot ‘Resistafly’ and three seed potatoes, eg, ‘Kestrel’. 

Step 3: Plant Root Crops

Pregerminate the seed potatoes in early spring. Line the crates and bag with plastic and pierce with a kitchen fork to create holes for drainage. In mid-spring fill the crates with compost up to two inches below the top, and thinly sow the carrot and beet seeds. Cover with a thin layer of compost and water well. Fill the bag one-third full with compost, plant the potatoes and cover with six inches of compost. Water well. When the beet and carrot seedlings appear, thin to the distances given on the seed packs, or a little closer. Also add compost to “earth up” the potatoes as they grow. Plant the Cosmos in their pot once the risk of frost is over. Water regularly, and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

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