Ground to Ground

Anyone have carrot advice?

It’s kinda mean, but I actually like hearing when other people’s crops fail.  I don’t feel so bad about myself and it gives me the hope to try again.

But I’ve just had my first two (disappointing) attempts are growing carrots and I’m wondering whether I’ll try them again next summer.

I’ve got some ideas about where I might have gone wrong, but it would be nice to hear if anyone else can give me some pointers.

Potential problem #1.  I’ve heard that carrots should be grown in average soil – that way they have to go searching for nutrients and that makes them longer.  Sounds logical, but I’m at the beginning of a crop rotation cycle, so I didn’t have any average soil (just that awesome soil where you can sit there for a few minutes letting it run through your fingers).  Maybe that allowed them to be lazy.  But according to that logic, they should have all been short but fat and stumpy – only about a quarter of them were.  I reckon I got about 4 carrots out of 80 that were half Coles-size.  A fair few more that were a quarter Coles size.

Potential problem #2.  Some of Shane’s back-posts suggest that carrots would respond well to coffee grounds.  Looking back, I can’t actually remember putting any grounds on!  I think I used all my grounds on other slug-affected plants.

Potential problem #3. Maybe I planted them too close together.  On my first attempt I thinned them out but kept them about an inch apart – perhaps too close, yeah! (and a little greedy).  The second time around I let them breathe a bit at two inches.  I tell you what, thinning carrots and re-planting the shoots has got to be the most tedious and back-breaking thing I’ve ever done in the garden!

Potential problem #4. Dry soil.  The first attempt over summer was kept pretty moist.  The second attempt was a bit neglected as I didn’t get out into the garden very much during the week.  I also assumed that we had more rain than actual. I dug some carrots up last weekend and the soil was getting more like dry dirt (I exaggerate, but you know what I mean).

Potential problem #5. Maybe I’m used to seeing grocery-store-sized carrots and I’m expecting too much.

Potential problem #6.  I keep telling my son – you won’t normally be good at something straight away.  Time and practice. I should really heed my own advice.

So I’d love to hear some carrot stories.

Have a great day.

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16 thoughts on “Anyone have carrot advice?

  1. Try growing your carrot in the middle of the garden, spacing is required between each seed you place, because it is a root plant with a light green leaf. Carrots need some sun and shade. The reason behind this is that if it is in a spot that is too hot, you can fry the root, the soil will get hot (imagine a tree’s root, if the trees are cut too far off the ground – coniferous (cone bearing) trees, the root of the tree begins to die off). Carrots are grown below ground except the green foliage leaf; don’t water it too much or make it too dry. The carrots will absorb anything you put into the soil. Try putting in some tea bags into your soil. Hope this will help for ideas.

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  2. Wow, thank you for all the comments. I thought this blog would be for my own catharsis – I didn’t think anyone would actually read it!

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    • And the nerd in me loves that it’s in point form.
      Yeah, I really dropped the ball with watering this time around. Unless the sun is really hot, I forget to water. I need an awesome watering set-up like Solarbeez, but that ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

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  3. Don’t use nitrogen, it causes them to fork. Plant with leeks as a companion. Mine worked out real well that way. The leeks keep away the little black worms.

    http://solarbeez.com/2013/01/10/raised-beds-and-companion-planting/

    Around here we’ve got to net them to keep the deer from eating the ‘leaves.’ I’ve got the perfect “raised bed deer protection solution,” but you’ve got to remember to close it before leaving the garden. :-)

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    • Thanks – I’ll try the leeks next time.
      I checked out your link. Those carrots are awesome. Far out – now I have carrot-envy, solar-envy, space-envy..
      And down here in the southern hemisphere there’s something a little magical about having deer as a garden pest.

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  4. Don’t expect them to be ‘shop size’! I eat ours whole, leaves and all. Did you know you can eat the leaves? That makes planting your own carrots worthwhile as you don’t get the leaves if you buy them normally.

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  5. Lots of great tips in the Carrot Museum.

    1. Thin to about 3 or 4 inches.

    2. Do not replant the thinnings.

    3. You need sandy well draiing soil.

    4. Keep moist at all times.

    5. Plant earlier – straight after the frosts – march in the UK

    6. Try succession planting, sowing every couple of weeks.

    7. Read the seed packet. Many carrots take longer than you think

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    • OK, er,I am currently only doing *one* of those things!
      I replanted A LOT of thinnings last time. I’ll give them a miss next time and see what happens. (one step at a time for my tiny brain)
      Thanks John.

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  6. Hi mate – might need to go deeper with the soil ( a foot), and make sure there are no lumps or clumps of organic material in what is otherwise on the sandy side. I’m unable to prove how smart I am with my own carrots because the family rabbit dug them all up yesterday.

    Yep, rabbits eat carrots.

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  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling a bit of schadenfreude regarding others’ garden attempts. I don’t grow veggies (yet). But my shade garden refuses to be the lush jungle I imagine it should be with all of the time and attention and organics I’m lavishing on it. Others with no experience or training at all enjoy sweeping slopes of lamium, the unfurling of unstoppable hostas, and hearty pachysandra that snuffs out weedy companions. What am I doing wrong? What are they doing right?

    Regarding carrots… every home-grown taproot I’ve had the pleasure to eat has been a delicious, but gnarly and stunted phallus of a thing. How do yours taste?

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    • OK, now that I’ve taken a moment to look up pachysandra and lamium in the plant manual..

      How do they taste? Such a simple question Britt, but you know what – I don’t have an answer for you! I’ve taken a very a male approach and focussed on size and volume. Sure, my wife cooks with them, but I’ve never actually just sat there and ate one. Ha – makes me wonder why I spent all that time on them…

      My daughter eats them – and she hates vegetables – so maybe they’re sweet.

      OK, I’ve got some homework tonight then.

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