This morning, Ann Z. and I went out to Wild Roots, where we met Molly. We spent about 4 hours out there working!! The weeds have been pulled! The garden looks beautiful. We harvested almost 4 pounds of lettuce, 9 radishes, 1/2 lb arugula, kale, lavender, basil, mint, thyme, cilantro, swiss chard, and much much more! It was definitely our most bountiful harvest. I had never picked a radish before, so that was super cool, and I picked a bunch of lettuce that all smelled delicious. The lettuce looks great, and the stuff in planters is safe from rabbits, however, we have some insect laying eggs in there! What a surprise! I found a bunch of tiny moist eggs, but I removed them from the lettuce.
The sugar snap peas are growing like mad, and they are finding their way up to the top boxes. I’ve even seen the beginnings of our first peas! I’ll have to take my camera out there tomorrow to show you all!
Today, a mini-lesson on carrots!
Carrots, as we all know, are a delicious root. They are a cool-season plant, they grow best in early spring. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked and they can be stored for months. Carrots are rich in carotene, fiber, and sugar.
Carrots must be planted early, but more importantly, carrots need to be grown in well plowed soil (to 9 inches). You must break up clumps of earth and remove rocks to allow the root to grow long and straight.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, seeds need to be planted every ½ inch. At Wild Roots, we planted them closer than that, so we need to separate those out a bit. Apparently, carrots germinate best in warm, moist soil. At this point in the season, the soil does not need to be kept warm, the sun warms it during the day. It does need to be watered frequently. It is also important to keep weeds under control at the soil line when dealing with carrots, as the seedlings are not strong and need a lot of resources without competition.
Carrots can be harvested (pulled) when the roots are ½ inch in diameter. When grown at home (in non-perfect conditions), carrots may not want to leave the ground, so it may be necessary to dig around the root before pulling it from the ground to prevent damage to the carrot. After washing, store carrots at 32°F with high humidity. “Carrots may be placed in a refrigerator, buried in lightly moist sand in an underground cellar or stored in the garden in a pit insulated with straw. Under proper storage conditions, carrots keep 4 to 6 months.”