Mary's Veggie Garden

November 25, 2013

Carrot Crazy!

Filed under: Carrots,Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:25 am
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I plant a lot of carrots. My goal is to supply all the carrots we eat from July 4 through the following April. This year I was first disappointed then overwhelmed.

For summer eating I planted carrots three times: Sugarsnax on 4/30 and Yaya on 5/20 and 6/25. Each variety was planted in three rows in one-third of a 18″x22′ bed in my community garden plot. Here is a picture of the planting taken June 30 and, for comparison, a picture taken mid-way through the second day of late fall harvest.

My carrot planting on June 30.

My carrot planting on June 30.

Carrot bed 11/9

Carrot bed 11/9

Throughout the summer I harvested carrots as needed. In mid-November I harvest everything remaining in my community garden plot. The fences must be removed by the end of the month and there are marauders in the gardens, both 2-legged and 4-legged so carrots won’t survive without the fence. I store the harvest in my root cellar.

The summer harvest totaled 9.5 pounds of Sugarsnax and 24 pounds of Yaya. I harvested an additional 16 pounds of Yaya carrots the day before taking the picture.

Here’s a quiz: How many pounds of Yaya carrots are still in the ground on 11/9? Write down your answer before reading further.

Yaya carrots: 19 pounds from  my 6/25 planting.

11/9/2013 Yaya carrots: 19 pounds from my 6/25 planting.

Sunday, 11/10 I harvested the remainder of the 6/25 planting and moved on to the 5/20 planting.

11/10/2013 Yaya carrots: top 6.75 pounds planted 6/25 , bottom 12.75 pounds planted 5/20.

11/10/2013 Yaya carrots: top 6.75 pounds planted 6/25 , bottom 13.5 pounds planted 5/20.

The carrots above on the bottom board and the right end of the top board are from the 5/20 planting. What a difference caused by an extra month in the ground – the carrots are noticeably bigger, but there is also more forking and a lot of splitting. Most of the split carrots have additional damage that looks like rodent nibbling. My guess is the smell of a split carrots attracts the rodents to a feast. There was also some minor insect damage – those are the carrots whose tops are lopped off. Overall, the 2013 carrot harvest was remarkable for the lack of insect damage, only a handful of carrots suffered any damage.

11/11/2013 Yaya carrots another 13 pounds planted 5/20.

11/11/2013 Yaya carrots another 13 pounds planted 5/20.

The answer to the quiz – 52 pounds in the ground. Total yield for the Yaya carrots was 92.6 pounds.

These fifty pounds of Yaya carrots are actually a problem – Yaya is a crisp, juicy carrot that will not store a long time. In previous years I’ve not had enough for long-term storage to be a problem, but I’m guessing they might be good for 2-3 months, not the 5-6 months like the Bolero carrots. So I’m bringing carrot sticks as a group snack to every meeting I attend. Plus my family will be getting take-homes at Thanksgiving.

Why do I have excessive Yaya carrots? That’s the disappointment of the Sugarsnax. I expected to eat Sugarsnax in July but they were too small – I had to buy carrots. In August we ate Sugarsnax instead of Yaya as planned. By the time I harvested the Yaya they were bigger, thus we ate fewer. Also, I harvest every second carrot – continuous thinning – so the remaining carrots have room to grow and grow.

BTW I have no intention of harvesting the few remaining Sugarsnax. I’m hoping the woodchuck will feast as soon as I remove the fence later today.

We had a few days of very cold weather, with highs just above freezing, so I stayed away from the garden. When I returned 11/14 the water had been turned off so it wouldn’t freeze in the pipes. My routine became: bike to the garden with a couple of gallons of hot water then bike home with 20 pounds of (somewhat) clean carrots. I really don’t want the dirt in my kitchen. At the garden I wear heavy rubber gloves and use a dish pan and tooth-brush to clean carrots.

I plant Bolero carrots for long-term storage. Bolero is denser and less juicy than Yaya, but just as sweet and they seem to get sweeter in the root cellar.

How well did you do with the last quiz? Want to try again? How many pounds of carrots in this bed?

11/9 Bolero carrots planted  7/9 (top), 7/1 (middle) and 7/5 bottom.

11/9/2013 Bolero carrots. Planting dates: top 7/9, middle 7/1 and  bottom 7/5

There are three rows of Bolero carrots in a 2’x19′ bed along the southern fence. There were shelling peas growing along the fence and I planted the carrots in their shade as the pea plants died back. The planting went exactly as planned. Germination was excellent. Rainfall was excellent in July and August. A soaker hose ran between the three rows of carrots and I irrigated Sept-Nov.

11/15/2013 Bolero carrots - 20 pounds

11/14/2013 Bolero carrots – 20.25 pounds

For a change – a picture in my kitchen. The carrots need to be dry before I put them in the storage buckets. On the right are the 1 pound and half pound carrots featured in my last post.

 11/15/2013 Bolero 19 pounds.

11/15/2013 Bolero 19 pounds.

11/16 I'm getting tired of carrots. Another 20 pounds of Boleros.

11/16 I’m getting tired of washing carrots. Another 17.5 pounds of Boleros.

This carrots in the section planted 7/5 were smaller and more were forked. I think the cause was inadequate thinning – the squash plants were growing down the path so it was difficult to get to those carrots.

11/17 Finally - the last of the Boleros and the last of the carrots!

11/17 Finally – the last of the Boleros – 21 pounds – and the last of the carrots!

Bolero harvest =  77 pounds. For comparison, last fall I harvested 44 pounds of Bolero and 21 pounds of Napoli for winter eating.

Our skin will be orange by spring.

The carrot harvest brings the garden total up to 1,177 pounds.

November 22, 2013

Biggest Carrot Ever?

Filed under: Carrots,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 3:52 am

It’s not the biggest carrot ever grown but it is the most perfect huge carrot I’ve grown. There is very little forking and no animal or insect damage. For the records see the Carrot Museum web site.

This Bolero carrot weighed a smidgen over a pound.

This Bolero carrot weighed a smidgen over a pound.

I planted the seed in early July, either 7/1, or more likely, 7/9. I harvested it Nov. 14. I can’t take too much credit for growing it. There was poor seed germination in that section of the row so the plants that did grow had plenty of room. Also we got lots of rain which carrots like, 3.4″ in July and 6.6″ in August.

One pound and half pound bolero carrots, gardener included for scale.

A one pound  Bolero carrot and  its half pound sibling, gardener included for scale. Yes, I’m Mary.

Most of my huge carrots have been multi-legged monstrosities like this one. It looks gnarly but tastes fine, sweet and tender. A couple more lunches and it will be gone.

This Yaya carrot weighed a bit less than a pound. Planted 5/20, harvested 11/12.

This Yaya carrot weighed almost a pound. Planted 5/20, harvested 11/12.

One more view of the prize specimen. I’m thinking this one pound carrot will feed the family at Thanksgiving dinner.

The floor tiles are 11.5" wide.

The floor tiles are 11.5″ wide.

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