Mary's Veggie Garden

December 16, 2010

Alien Carrots

Filed under: Carrots,Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:22 pm
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A few surprises always emerge when I harvest carrots. The fence around my community garden plot must be removed by Nov. 28, so in the last two weeks of Nov. I dug about 50 pounds of carrots.  I store them in the coldest part of my basement for crispy eating throughout the winter.

Together these two odd carrots would generously fill a 1 pound bag, but you will never find anything like them at a store.

Can you imagine finding this 15.7 oz. behemoth in your bag of carrots from the supermarket? I expect this to be great eating because the bottom end is always the crispest and sweetest part, and this carrot has eight bottom ends.

This 2.5 ounce cutie has legs hanging down one side like charms on a bracelet.

This pair of carrots started as two separate plants. Where their shoulders touched the top carrot fused to the bottom one. Meanwhile the bottom carrot wrapped a leg around the top one without fusing.

What causes carrots to fork? http://www.grow-it-organically.com/growing-carrots.html says:
“Forking can be caused by rocky or lumpy soil, poor drainage, insufficient water, or high nitrogen levels in the soil. ” Others say that mechanical (rocks) or insect (root knot nematode) damage to the growing tip can cause forking.

I’ve grown this variety, Bolero, for the past 4 years, in different spots in the same garden. Usually I find a few forked carrots, but this is extreme. The soil is a somewhat heavy clay loam, but it is almost rock-free. Thus far, I’ve seen few signs of root knot nematodes. I fertilize the same way every year. My guess is the forking was caused by insufficient water.  Between 5/1 – 8/5 we received a total of 3″ of rain.  The carrots were planted in 3 rows running the length of an 18″ wide bed. I watered with a soaker hose running between two rows. I wish I’d known enough to observe  whether or not the forked carrots were in the row furthest from the hose.

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