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.
Use this simple root vegetable guide to help you select the best crops for your garden and containers.