There are a large number of vegetables that grow well in sand, but root vegetables do particularly well in this medium. Sand provides a loose home for the root to expand and develop without obstruction. Sandy soil drains readily, helping prevent the rot that can occur when a root must endure standing water. Because of the soil's generally good drainage, plants anchored in sandy soil may require more frequent watering, especially during warmer months or when direct sunlight is a factor.
Carrots are one of the best vegetables for locations with sandy soil. Take into consideration the depth of the soil and the condition of its deeper layers if you plan to plant a variety with a longer root. If you have a more shallow layer of sand, consider a half-long or short rooted variety. The seeds may be planted at a shallow 1/4-inch, but you should prepare the soil to a depth of up to 9 inches before planting. Sandy soils can provide an advantage in areas where seasonal weather influences planting time. According to the Oregon State University Extension Service, soils with good drainage are among the first to warm in the spring.
Another sandy soil lover is the parsnip, relative of the carrot. Gardeners may want to add organic matter as a soil amendment and use fertilizer on crops grown in sandy soils, as nutrients are often carried away along with the water that drains relatively freely from this type of soil. Care should be taken to avoid leaving unbroken clods or clumps of material in the bed when amending the soil, as these can cause parsnip roots to become misshapen. Small stones, tree roots and other obstructions within the soil can also cause malformations. Gardeners should avoid planting in locations where these materials may interfere or attempt to minimize the impact by removing them from the garden bed while preparing to plant.
Beets are also chief among the root crops that perform well in a sandy soil. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, beets are also capable of standing a more alkali soil than other crops are able to tolerate. Root crops do well in areas where the soil does not become compacted and sandy soils generally resist compaction, but gardeners can further prevent the soil becoming compressed by choosing a location away from foot traffic and tilling the soil deeply before planting. The University of Illinois Extension recommends adding potassium and ensuring a steady supply of water for the best beet yield.