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The Best Days to Plant Root Vegetables

By Jack S. Waverly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Timing is important when planting root crops.
radish image by Waikikisurfer from Fotolia.com

Root vegetables, like other vegetables, have favorable planting times during the growing season. The best days to plant root vegetables can be determined by different methods: planting by seasonal change, by the phase of the moon and some people even plant by the zodiac calendar.

Frost-free Dates

Root vegetables are best planted about the last frost of early spring and the first hard frost of winter. Beets can be planted up to 30 days before the final frost of early spring. Radishes can be planted just after the last frost of early spring; carrots can usually be planted about the same time. Plant long-growing winter crops from mid-April to July so that the harvest can be made prior to the first hard frost of winter. Examples of winter root vegetables are midseason carrot varieties, parsnips and potatoes. Plant the last crop of vegetables with shorter growing seasons in early autumn such as radish, rutabagas and turnips.


Successive plantings can be achieved by using the stages of the moon each quarter or month. Plant root vegetables such as radish, turnips and rutabagas in successive crops alongside other nonroot vegetables to mark the rows such as spinach, parsley and beans. The moon goes through four phases each cycle: new, first quarter, full and last quarter. Plant root vegetables during the latter two cycles, the full and last quarter. The moonlight decreases and sap from plants flows into the root systems and slows down. Planting by the full moon ensures sugar is stored in the roots and therefore increases the storage of carbohydrates and nutrients in roots making bigger root vegetables. Use the full moon and last quarter to harvest root vegetables as well.


According to the Hendry County Extension of the University of Florida the best times to plant are when the moon shows during the water or earth sign cycles: Cancer, Scorpio, Taurus and Pisces; this corresponds with planting dates between late March to late July for early crops and mid-October to late-November for autumn planting. Using the dates of each sign, Cancer June 21 to July 22 and Scorpio Oct. 23 to Nov. 21, which fall within the optimal time frame to plant these types of vegetables.