Root Vegetables: Carrots, Beets, Parsnips

With dozens of root vegetable varieties to choose from, the right selection can mean the difference between success and disappointment, so use this guide to determine what carrots, beets and parsnips will suit you best.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Parmex’

Dumpy, spherical roots make this one of the best carrots for sowing into patio pots or shallow soil. Despite their shape, they have a fine sweet flavor. The earliest crops can be sown under glass or protected with cloches.

Sow: Early to late spring
Harvest: Late spring to early fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Carrot 'Infinity’ F1

This late maincrop carrot has an elegant, slender root that is delicious raw or cooked. The sweet carrots are deep orange right to their core and keep well in the soil into fall or can be lifted and stored successfully.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late summer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Carrot ‘Purple Haze’ F1

As its name suggests, this variety has unconventional dark purple roots, which reveal contrasting orange cores when they are sliced. Flavor is not sacrificed and is particularly good when raw.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Early summer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Carrot 'Bangor’ F1

Long, stocky roots are produced in large quantities, especially in moist soil, by this excellent maincrop variety. Crops can be harvested from late summer and throughout fall, and store well once lifted.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Carrot ‘Flyaway’ F1

Specially bred to be less prone to attack by carrot flies, this maincrop carrot produces good crops where the pest would render others inedible. The stout, cylindrical roots are smooth-skinned and sugary.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Carrot ‘Carson’ F1

Fall and winter bring good cropsof this medium-sized, tapering variety. The rich orange color, combined with the delicious crunchy texture and sweetness, makes them irresistible when eaten raw.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late summer to early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Beet ‘Boltardy’

A reliable variety yielding traditional deep red globe-shaped roots with a fine sweet flavor. Perfect for sowing under cloches in early spring because of its excellent resistance to bolting.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early summer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Beet ‘Pablo’ F1

One of the best varieties for growing in patio containers and perfect to harvest as baby beets. The smooth, deep red, spherical roots taste exceptionally sweet; they also stand well in the soil without bolting or becoming woody.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Beet ‘Chioggia Pink’

A beautiful curiosity; the rich red skin of this spherical root conceals flesh marked with concentric rings of blush pink and white. Its sweet, mild flavor is delightful raw or cooked.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early summer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Beet ‘Forono’

Elongated, burgundy-colored roots make this variety ideal for slicing. Tender young roots have a particularly intense flavor, so sow successionally for a continuous supply. Prone to bolting if sown too early.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Parsnip ‘Gladiator’ F1

A popular hybrid parsnip that matures quickly, producing consistently reliable, early-maturing crops of white-skinned roots. ‘Gladiator’ also benefits from good canker resistance.

Sow: Late winter to mid-spring
Harvest: Mid-fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Parsnip ‘Tender and True’

In deep soil, this variety forms exceptionally long roots, which are often considered to have one of the finest parsnip flavors. It is also resistant to canker and is a firm favorite with exhibition growers.

Sow: Late winter to mid-spring
Harvest: Late fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun