Keep root vegetables like onions and potatoes fresh longer by storing them in a cool, dry, dark place. Handy open-weave baskets, like these, provide air circulation to keep the veggies dry while the cabinet's interior protects them from sunlight. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry.
A day or two before Christmas, create a reindeer feeder to get kids excited about Santa. This can be as simple as finding an old rustic bucket or basket and leaving carrots or fresh root vegetables out along with a cute sign.
With a sweeter, milder flavor than traditional red beets, this golden variety is an easy to grow, low maintenance root vegetable. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting in a sunny spot in early spring (3-4 weeks before the last frost). Space them 2 inches apart if growing for greens or 4 inches apart if harvesting for the roots.
A cross between a cabbage plant and a turnip, rutabagas have a longer growing season than both of those (about four weeks longer) but the extra time is worth it. The flavor is sweet yet savory and milder than turnips. Try it in a root vegetable gratin, mashed with carrots or roasted with a topping of fresh parsley and apple cider vinegar.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic are some of the more common root vegetables cooks use everyday but there are plenty of other less common but equally delicious varieties you can try such as Salsify. Some people call it the oyster plant due to its flavor. Sow the seeds in early spring when the soil temperature has reached 40 degrees and expect to harvest the salsify in 120 to 150 days. Add it to soups and stews or serve it mashed with a little butter and cream.
This heirloom carrot from Seed Savers Exchange, 'Scarlet Nantes', is a bright, orange-red. The nearless coreless roots are sweet-tasting and grow to about 7 inches long. Try this variety for baby carrots, or freeze or juice the roots.
Grow ‘Yellowbunch’ for carrots you can roast, juice or make into soups. These slender roots are very uniform and grow 8 to 9 inches long. The plants have good resistance to Alternaria blight, a leaf disease.
Beautiful blossoms and fragrance aside, some roses, which are related to apples, are highly prized for their plump, nutritious orange or red fruits (“hips”), and are often shared as rooted cuttings taken in the fall or winter, rather than as store-bought grafted plants. Rugosa roses are among the best for large, crabapple-like hips, though there are many others.
Also known as oxalis, this is a versatile weed that grows in sun or shade, moist or dry soil. It’s a clover look-alike, with heart shape leaves and yellow flowers. Blooms fade to form upright seed pods that explode when ripe, flinging seeds away from the mother plant. It also roots from stem pieces. It’s happy to grow in lawns, planting beds, gravel drives or vegetable garden paths. Oxalis is a common weed in nursery pots, so be sure to check before adding plants to your landscape. The best way to beat it in the lawn is to mow high and fertilize to grow a healthy, thick lawn. In planting beds, carefully hand-pull or spray with herbicide.