Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

Carrots Pulled last weekend

I pulled up my carrots Sunday morning.  They were the best I have ever grown, and probably the best I could have done with my shady location.  Not a single one of them would have been supermarket-acceptable.  They were either worm bitten, cracked open, too small, tapered too fast, split rooted, etc, etc.  They’re good enough for me.  I got probably 6 or 8 pounds of edible carrot from six 8-foot rows, but I didn’t pick anything in the last 4 feet of the last 3 rows because they just didn’t grow in the shade there.

I washed them outside with the hose and broke off the green tops.

Then I washed them better inside.  After the picture above I cut off the bottoms and tops of each one.  They are in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator awaiting their date with multiple freezer bags.

As I said, this was definitely the best I can do with my dirt, my skills, my location right now.  I won’t give carrots a serious try again  next year.

June Garden Panorama

I have had panorama photos that turned out much better than this one, but it gets the idea across. Things are starting to get a bit unruly down there. Weeding needs lots of attention soon. It’s time to harvest beets and their greens. Soon I will harvest the carrots, followed by the cabbages and then the garlic. By that time I will be getting many red tomatoes.

I still need to plant the green beans I promised my wife.

Garden Overview, Early May 2012

Garden overview in Early May

Okra, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Garlic, Cabbage, Strawberries, Beets, Carrots, Peas, Potatoes, Squash, Watermelons, Zucchini.

I need to plant cucumbers where those peas are, but I’m giving them ONE MORE week before they are evicted.

Jimmy Watering the Garden

Almost everything has been planted now.  I just have green beans and cucumbers left to direct-seed.  Also, I’m trying a little chin beard, but I’m undecided on it.  I think I’m going to let it get a bit longer and see how it looks then.

Beets and Carrots growing well…so far

Beets and Carrots

The carrots (up top) are a bit patchy and sparse, but the beets are the best I’ve ever had, by far.  Up until now I have tried beets all 4 years.  One year I had them looking ALMOST this good, but they didn’t form roots for me.  The other 3 times they didn’t even get this far along.

This year I took extra time preparing the bed.  I dug it very deeply and added generous amounts of what the soil was lacking.  I still don’t know if I’ll get beets or not, but let’s say I have my hopes up now.

Beets and carrot seeds planted

The bed shown here got worked on last weekend.  I dug it over as deep as I could with my garden spade, then moved the dirt aside and tried to get most of it dug twice as deep as that.  I was helped along in my cultivation by the tree and bush roots I had to keep tearing out, some a half inch wide and running the length of the bed.

This is a 8 foot by 6 foot bed, with the center 2 feet raised an additional 6 inches.  I put three rows of carrot seeds up top there.  The two bottom sections both got three rows of beet seeds planted in them.  I have NEVER been successful at growing a beet in my garden, but I have high hopes that I’m somehow doing something different this year.

Spring Garden Planning – on Paper – 2011

When I originally built my first set of garden beds in 2008, I had a brilliant idea. Every web site and book I could find was telling me that I wanted my garden beds to be 4 feet wide, for the convenience of reaching the crops easily and the benefit of never having to set foot into my soil. I promptly built each bed 6 feet wide because I knew better and I’ve been kicking myself for my arrogance ever since. I figured that 50% more growing area per bed plus much less wood needed would save me a ton of money by using a 6×8 foot layout. Well, it’s just been a pain in the ass.

This first drawing illustrates this year’s idea to help take advantage of these oddly-wide square foot garden beds. I plan to build a two-foot-wide middle section that has a trellis on each of these beds. I’ll grow climbing crops up the trellis in the middle and use the two-foot section on each side for crops with shorter growth habits.

So with this idea in mind, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper and planned out my 2011 garden. You can click the image to enlarge the photo. Each of the 5 beds I have numbered 2 through 6 will be getting a trellis topper with it’s own double-raised bed section (6 inches higher) beneath.

I have rotated every crop to an area of the garden that it hasn’t been grown for at least a year. Ideally I would use a 4 or 5 year rotation, but that isn’t possible in this amount of space unless I grow less tomatoes.

Because I have 12 growing beds, I plan to have several beds entirely dedicated to single crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

I also have planned some succession sowing with early spring crops, spring crops and fall crops. Carrots will follow the radishes and lettuce, Beets will follow Kale, and the green bean bed will be planted multiple times.

I found a place online where I could download a nice spreadsheet to help me with my seed-sowing dates. I entered my (average) last spring frost date into the spreadsheet, and it adjusted itself to display a range of dates where I should probably start my indoor seeds for best success in my garden. I moved these recommendations to the calendar on my computer and printed out a copy for easy reference. I have two trays of seeds started so far. Pictures coming at a later date!

The boys have been big helpers with the seed starting. They get a little bit of cabin fever when they are snowed in.

Carrots

This spring we planted one section of my wife’s herb bed with carrots–approximately 2 square feet.  We harvested about half of them a month ago to thin them out a bit and left these to grow more.

They were from a packet that called itself Red, White and Blue.  We got white, yellow, orange, red and purple.

Some of them chose to grow better than others, even when spaced correctly. I can’t say why…I don’t know.

I sure wish the greens were as tasty as the carrots, because there was far more to compost than there was to eat.

The purple ones look just awesome inside! Their skin actually turns orange while they cook, leaving purple water behind.

Net result was about 14 ounces of clean trimmed carrots to freeze later this week.

P.S.  Did you know that to save seeds from carrots you have to leave them to overwinter in the garden? As a biennial they flower their second year, as will cabbage.

May 2009 Backyard Garden

Gardening by numbers     

Gardening by numbers
Bed 1 is my wife's herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence.  Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 1 is my wife’s herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence. Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer's market this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer’s market this weekend.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets and carrots.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons' 2x2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons’ 2×2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato.  The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato. The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row.  Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row. Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.

2009 Tentative Garden Layout

2009_planting_layout1

8 ft x 6 ft beds.  The lettuce at the top will be planted on/in 20 inch high bales of straw, thanks to a few awesome bloggers who taught me this trick in their posts.

I’m going to do a broccoli experiment this spring.  I’ll plant two whole beds of broccoli, one with a closer spacing than the other, all other things equal, and we’ll see how it affects yield:

2009_broccoli_comparison1

I’m guessing the bed with 35 plants will outperform the bed with 24, but it’s worth checking.  Maybe I’ll be surprised.

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