Friday, August 1, 2014

Carrot Scare


My carrots have taken a long time to size up - or so it seems.  As is often the case when waiting for things to mature in the garden, a few days seems more like a few weeks – the first ripe tomato, the first juicy strawberry….and the carrot harvest.

That’s why I love keeping records of when I do things.  I could have sworn that the carrots should have been done long before now.  But then I look back and see that I actually sowed them on May 13 and they didn’t start germinating until May 25th.  All of the varieties I am growing should mature in 60-70 days.  So moving forward from the date of germination, they were not due to reach maturity until July 24th at the earliest.  And taking into account that they are located in a bed that receives a bit more shade, the end of July is, in fact, on the early side of the harvesting window.

So now I want to backtrack to last week when I had a bit of a scare with the carrots.  As I was doing my daily stroll around the garden, I noticed this:

Bolting Carrot??
 
Ugh – one of the carrots was bolting.  Then I looked a bit more closely and noticed that several more appeared to be sending up stalks.  Nooo!  I pulled all of the carrots that were bolting and this is what I found:

Carrot Growers Worst Nightmare
 
Double nooooo!  Panic sets in….what is wrong with my carrots??

I then pulled a non-bolting carrot and, to my relief, it looked like this:

Perfect Carrot - Whew!
 
And that is when I realized – what I had pulled were not carrots, but that old familiar weed, Queen Anne’s lace also known as wild carrot.  Since they were at the same level of maturity as the regular carrots and I had not found them growing in any other bed, I’m guessing that some seeds got mixed in with the carrot seeds.  I do find myself scratching my head, however, as Queen Anne's lace is supposed to be a biennial - so that is a bit of a mystery, especially as this is a newly built bed with new soil.
 
Even though I should probably leave the carrots in the ground to get just a tad bigger, I decided to pull them up today as I'm getting a bit concerned that my fall carrots will not have enough time to mature.

When I pulled up the carrots, I found another half dozen or so Queen Anne’s lace, primarily where I planted the Chantenay Red Core.

I also pulled two carrots that looked like this:

Bizarre Looking Damage
 
I have no idea what happened to these – some type of bug, perhaps?  Anyone seen this type of damage before?  Thankfully, all of the other carrots were ok.

I chose two very early varieties for my fall crop – Amsterdam Maxi (45-55 days) and Sprint (42 days).  I am preparing seeds tapes, just like I did last time, and hopefully I can get them in the ground by tomorrow.  Technically, there should still be enough time for these varieties, but carrots can take a bit of time to germinate and then, of course, the cooler days of fall also tend to slow down growth.  So fingers crossed that the carrots mature in time and I get a bumper crop this fall for winter munching.
 
Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

9 comments:

  1. I get weird open carrots like that occasionally. Mokums are especially prone to it. My other varieties don't really do it. Though I haven't a clue what causes it.

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    1. Interesting. I'm glad it's only a sporadic issue. I was a bit worried that it may be some kind of disease or pest that was just gaining a foothold in the bed.

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    2. I also get the odd carrot with weird looking splits like that. I don't know the cause either, but it is usually only a few, not the whole crop.

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  2. Hi Margaret, Glad that you carrots are right on schedule. I haven't checked mine yet but I need to keep better records so that I will know. How do you record yours? I am not a computer person so don't want to do a spreadsheet. I write down in a journal when I plant things but think next year I will use an index card for each vegetable. Happy Gardening! Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy! I use Excel to keep track of stuff, but that's just because it's easy for me to use as I used to use it a lot a work. At the end of the year, I sort my notes according to vegetable and print them out & put them into a binder. That may be another idea for you - a binder with those dividers that have tabs so that you can write the name of each veg on the tab & put them in the binder alphabetically. Then you can even use just lined paper to keep track of your notes for each type of veg - lots of room to write, you can add as many pages as you want, and everything is all in one spot.

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  3. Would you mind sharing that chocolate zucchini bread recipe with me? My e-mail is bobnanmol at yahoo dot com Nancy

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    1. FYI - Left the link as a comment on your latest post...

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  4. I wonder if your carrot seeds got crossed with Queen Annes's Lace, they are very closely related and will cross to off types. Now you've reminded me that I need to get some carrots going as well.

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    1. That may very well be - and that's definitely something to keep in mind if I choose to save my own seed at some point as we do have Queen Anne's lace growing here and there in our area.

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