First Carrots of the Year

Carrots First Picking

 

I’ve been trying to grow carrots here for years but always with limited success. The biggest problem has been poor germination. Watering frequently and mulching did not work well. There was also a problem with root nematodes which deformed the carrots.

Last year I had great success and harvested 60 pounds of carrots from a 40 foot row. Germination was almost 100% and I was harvesting baby carrots through July and August. And the nematode problem was solved, too. I think the better germination is in part connected with improved soil. The organic content is much higher than in the past. Also, a few years ago I added an inch thick layer of silt and red clay subsoil. The higher organic content, silt, and clay retain moisture and that may be why the germination is better.

The nematodes didn’t bother my carrots last year. I don’t know why but I have an idea. A new weed appeared in the garden a few years ago and has become very abundant. It is a relative of pigweed called Jerusalem oak goosefoot (Chenopodium botrys). Jerusalem oak goosefoot is a fragrant plant with a strong scent. I think chemicals secreted from the roots or washing from the leaves into the soil might have affected the nematodes. So this year I am letting it grow among the carrot rows again just in case it is exerting a nematicidal effect in the soil.

So today I harvested my first carrots of the season and had them with a black bean-wild rice burger (full of veggies from year) and some potatoes from last year. Pretty good meal.

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