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Root depths of vegetables

Posted by ayala (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 8, 07 at 4:38


I need a root depths table of vegetable, and didn't find
on the internet.

Can you send me a link for it.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Root depths of vegetables

Since I not seen anything like that I doubt one exists, what is it you are looking for? Carrots? Turnips? Kohlrabi? Root depth of beans?

RE: Root depths of vegetables

You might try searching for info on necessary containter depth for container growing veggies. This might not be quite what you are looking for but it may help.
"Most vegetables and flowers have a rooting depth of 2
to 3 feet in good quality soil, but can be grown in shallower
soils. Plants whose roots are restricted will be
smaller, less productive and may produce smaller-sized
fruits. Small containers dry out more quickly, requiring
frequent watering. A minimum depth of 10 to 12 inches
is recommended for most plants exposed to drying wind
and sun. " Quote from the page in the link.

What is the purpose for needing this info, perhaps that will help me help you better.

Here is a link that might be useful: purdue

RE: Root depths of vegetables

Here is an excellent resource. Enjoy.

Here is a link that might be useful: ROOT DEVELOPMENT

RE: Root depths of vegetables

thanks you are correct it is for the container growing veggies, and I did seach and did't find all the information. I don't have a specific veg as I would like first to do some "calculations and than to decide what to grow where (soil or container).
So i think your answer is good for me.

Sorry for the English...(from Israel)

RE: Root depths of vegetables

g'day ayala,

most container gardeners are only using containers with depth ranges between say 12"s and 20"s, we use raised garden beds and only have a growing depth of around 10" to 12"s, it is not so much the depth needed but that the growing medium contains the nutrients & moisture needed. when we pull spent plants their roots are never deeper than the medium, they don't need to be.

even fruit trees take their nutrients from their feeder root system which is just below the surface and around the drip line zone.


Here is a link that might be useful: len's garden page

RE: Root depths of vegetables

Thank you very much!!!!!!!

RE: Root depths of vegetables


In addition to what Len said, most of the commerical self watering units have about 6" of growing depth. The square foot gardening method calls for 6" as well and can have closed bottoms (making it a container).

When it comes to container growing I wouldn't think in terms of depth as much as I would volume. The greater the volume of potting soil the greater the volume of water it can hold. Unless you want to be watering multiple times per day (or have an automated system) you are going to do well to use large containers (5 gallons and up) for water hungry plants like melons, tomatos etc) and 1-3 gallons for most other veggies. Consistency of water supply pays off in terms of quality produce.

RE: Root depths of vegetables

This may not be what you need, Ayala. However, in Israel and many areas of this country effective irrigation of field and row crops is of critical importance. Scrolling down to Table 2, one finds "maximum crop rooting depths, effective rooting depths for water management purposes."

Hope that helps you or others with similar questions.


RE: Root depths of vegetables

Hi Ayala and everyone else!

I am also in Israel and this question interests me too as I am plannning on setting up a series of raised beds in my garden to grow vegetables organically. I am looking for advice both on the best depth for the raised beds (I was thinking 40-50 cm.) and also what to fill them with.

I have seen the mix recommended by Mel of square foot gardening and I can easily do the vermiculaite and home-made compost (with horse manure) but would like to avoid peat, if possible. What are the alternatives and how much compost, volumewise can I use? 50%?


RE: Root depths of vegetables

I have grown stuff in almost 100% compost. This might not be optimal but it seemed to work well for a season. drawbacks of this method are that really soft loose compost doesn't provide as much support as a heavier mineral soil mix so some large plants tend to fall over. Mixing local soil or sand can help give more support. Oh, and if using large amounts of organic matter as a planting medium, you have to be prepared to add more regularly as it continues to break down.

RE: Root depths of vegetables

Joanna, I think that only a few vegetables like spinach and radishes wouldn't benefit from somewhat greater depth than that - IF you have good deep top soil. But, I doubt if 5% of gardeners bother to go deeper than 40-50 cm (~18 inches). Remember that there's something you might think of as "unkind" subsoil below your top soil. The top soil may be considerably less than 40-50 cm and you don't want to incorporate much subsoil into it.

I found that double-digging a bed with a spade (something I seldom do), takes me down about 16 inches. Usually I'm preparing a bed with a spading fork with 11-inch tines and that's as deep as I go.

If I remember correctly, your plan for 40-50 cm is deeper than is common in square foot gardening but I don't really use that approach. There's a GW forum for that if you'd like to check with them.


RE: Root depths of vegetables

I remember reading a book devoted to the subject of the root development of vegetables. It was a seminal work, published in 1927; but I can't remember its name or author. I borrowed a copy through MeL -- Michigan's email library. It's also included in that internet library of public domain agricultural books that is kept by an Australian; again my memory can't produce the name or address.

Some of the line drawings form the book are in Jeavons' "All the vegetables you can grow in less pace than you imagined". I have always been impressed by the huge depths -- 10 feet for beets (or it might have been 12) and 3 feet for lettuce come to mind. Regards, Peter.

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