Should vegetable roots be removed at the end of the season?

gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)September 19, 2009

I'm trying to establish a no-till system.

Now that vegetable season is about to start winding down should I remove the roots as well?

Some of the things I have grown include corn,various types of squash, cucumbers, peppers, sunflowers, tomatoes, various annual flowers, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc.

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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

i leave them in there they soon rot away and become nutrients.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 2:07PM
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tcstoehr

Yeah, leave them in, that's all part of the organic content of the soil. Some things leave a big stump like cabbage or cauliflower. I pull those out kinda sideways so the roots break away from the stump. This works best if you wait for a couple months (if the bed isn't in use). For corn, I like to wait until near the spring planting before yanking out each stump and bashing the soil off on the next stump over.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 4:20PM
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justaguy2(5)

The only reason I can think of to actually pull up plants by the roots rather than cutting them off above the soil line is if it's a plant with roots that are thick and don't rot easily. In this case it may be necessary to remove them to make room for something else.

In all other cases the roots stay where they are. Roots don't just take up nutrients, they store them. Some plants such as legumes may store a large amount of nitrogen, but the roots of any plants will have some nutrients in them.

Why remove them instead of letting those nutrients return to the soil?

An easy way to clear the garden is with a weed wacker or lawn mower. Pick up the refuse and toss into the compost pile or if it's disease/pest free, leave it as a mulch.

There is rarely a need to remove roots.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 6:35PM
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maifleur01

One reason to pull some of the brussel sprouts is to see if they have Root Knot problems. If they have you may want to change your rotation or try a control.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 9:20PM
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lazy_gardens

The roots of squash and okra can be 3-8 feet deep!

I slice the stem a couple inches below the ground and leave the roots. It may take a chainsaw to get the okra - it's 3" across at the base.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 11:16PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

You can leave the roots right where they grew and you can also leave the unharvested top growth as well to put the nutrients they contain back into the soil. I just knock stuff over and cover that with compost and mulch and next spring move aside what might be necessary to plant and add more mulch if needed.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 7:10AM
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popcornhill

After last springs harvest of purple hull peas I pulled all the vines and roots out to plant a fall crop. Before I knew it the rows were covered with voluntary peas. I am just now pulling the last of the peas. If I leave the plants or mulch them will the peas come back next spring or will the winter kill them out? Thanks

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 8:17PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

popcornhill, pea plants are unlikely to live through a winter. I'm not sure where you are located.

Volunteers might come back next spring. Which isn't really the worst thing.

And thanks for the comments about removing roots. The reason I originally asked was that I read something in the past about pests staying with the roots of plants during the non-growing season.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 11:22PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Insects will stay in a garden where the plants are left, beneficials, those that do little, and some pests that the beneficials will dine on. Removing the garden "debris" also removes the wintering over places all of those insects need. Leave the dead plants in the garden and the beneficials, the predators, will also have some place to winter over so they are ready to start controlling the pests sooner.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 6:50AM
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neohippie(8b)

I would remove the roots only if you had some kind of serious disease (and that might not even be a problem if you rotate the crop with something unrelated). Otherwise, leave them, ESPECIALLY those of legumes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 3:46PM
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