While thinning out my carrots today, I noticed the disfiguring sign of root knot.
This is an issue I first noticed last year, and got worse this summer. I have noticed it on the roots of Okra, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers. It probably stunted the growth of some of my other veggies, too. Root knot is caused by a microscopic roundworm called a nematode that attacks and feeds off of plant roots. From what I read, the problem is worse with certain plants, and worse when the winters don’t freeze. The root knot problem may have been worse in my garden this year because last winter was extremely mild, or because of successive years of planting things that the nematodes live on.
The solutions are few. Since my garden is small, I am going to attempt to sterilize the soil by heating it. I can solarize the ground using the sun by covering it with a plastic tarp. The temperature below the tarp will get hot enough to kill most things. For that, I will need to wait until next summer. I can also avoid planting susceptible plants for a few years, or adding more organic material to the soil.