Archive for the 'Carrots' Category

Winter Rainbow Carrots

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Last spring, I planted rainbow carrot seeds in our vegetable garden. I planted a second crop of rainbow carrot seeds in our garden last September. This week, I harvested the remaining carrots from the spring crop. The first picture above shows some of the red, purple, white, and yellow carrots I harvested. The only color of carrots I didn’t harvest was orange!

These carrots had been in the ground a long time (nearly 10 months). Many of them had grown to be very large. And I don’t remember ever fertilizing them. They don’t seem to need it. Carrots are one of the lowest maintenance vegetables that I have grown. The carrot in the bottom picture has a green top, because that part of the carrot was protruding above the ground.

I have heard that carrots can be left in the ground over the winter, and that the cold winter weather stimulates them to get sweeter. This week we received nearly 6 inches of rain. So I decided to harvest the rest of the spring carrots, because I was concerned that they might start rotting in the ground. In fact, some of them already had a few brown spots.

Some of our carrots were forked. Carrots tend to get forked when their roots run into rocks or hard dirt clods. Also, some of our carrots had split open, possibly because of too much watering during the growing season. But one of the nice things about vegetables is that even the less than perfect looking ones are still edible. Once they are sliced and cooked, who can tell the difference anyway?

January 24 2010 | Carrots | 2 Comments »

Summer Harvest

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As shown in this picture, we harvested yellow and white carrots, walla walla onions, a bunch of big beef and early girl tomatoes from our vegetable garden today. We are making homemade pizza sauce, minestrone soup, and vegetable lasagna with our harvest. We saved money by growing many of the ingredients for these recipes ourselves, and all of these vegetables were easy to grow. Beyond planting in the spring and then harvesting months later, maintaining our vegetable garden did not require a lot of effort.

The automatic watering system in our vegetable garden saves us the trouble of having to water regularly. I fertilized multiple times after planting. But once the plants started growing rapidly, I figured there wasn’t a need for much additional fertilizer. And I only needed to do a little bit of weeding. I think that the weeds just didn’t get a chance to grow, because I planted the vegetables relatively close together. Once the vegetable plants started to grow together, there wasn’t much sunlight to stimulate weed growth in between them.

I just planted another set of carrot seeds. July and August is the time to plant carrot seeds for an autumn and winter harvest. One nice thing about carrots is that they hold well in the ground after they reach maturity without rotting or losing quality. That means you can leave them in the ground for months until you are ready to harvest them.

July 26 2009 | Carrots and Onions and Tomatoes | No Comments »

Carrot Patch

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Carrots have been one of the most enjoyable vegetables to grow in our garden. Back in early April, I planted seeds for red, yellow, white, and purple carrots. Most of the seeds sprouted as extremely tiny seedlings, but they grew very fast. After 3 months, they have grown so large that they are crowding each other (see top picture).

Some of our carrots went to seed before they developed more than a tiny little carrot. But most of them have not seeded yet. Carrots are supposed to be a spring or fall crop, because they tend to go to seed too soon in hot summer weather. Perhaps our relatively mild summers (highs averaging around 80 F) have kept most of them from seeding prematurely.

Many of our carrots are ready to harvest. On the seed package, it says 65-75 days to maturity, but our carrots seem to be taking longer than that. Also, carrots appear to last in the ground for a long time without going bad or losing flavor.

I determine when carrots are ready to harvest by digging around the top of the root to see when the carrot appears to have grown to a full size. (see bottom picture) Harvesting carrots is very fun, because it’s always a surprise when you pull them up and find out how big they are.

July 18 2009 | Carrots | No Comments »

Yellow Carrots

Nearly all of the plants in our vegetable garden are dead or dying. The one exception is the carrots I planted by seed last summer. We planted yellow and red carrot seeds, because we thought they would be interesting novelty plants. The carrots look healthy right now despite the cold weather we have been having.

Several nights last week, the temperatures here fell into the low 30s F. The frost damaged the leaves of our brugmansia and plumeria plants. However, the carrots appear to have been unaffected by the cold temperatures. The leaves still look green and healthy. The high temperatures here have been in the upper 40s to low 50s for weeks.

Today, I harvested our first carrots, shown in the above pictures. Obviously, one doesn’t know what an individual carrot will look like until it’s uprooted. So I was very excited to pull them out of the ground and discover nicely developed carrots attached to the leaves. The surprise factor adds an interesting dimension to growing carrots. These appear to be yellow carrots. The largest one is about 9 inches in length. The thickest one is about 1.75 inches in width. I can’t wait to taste them. We are going to serve them for Christmas eve dinner. I haven’t grown carrots since I was a child, and I remember not having much luck with them back then.

I have read that one of the keys to growing carrots is to grow them in at least a foot of loosely packed soil that is free of rocks. Otherwise, the carrots may not develop to their full length or may develop forks. Growing them in a foot-high raised bed filled with compost seems to have helped.

December 23 2008 | Carrots | 2 Comments »