Author Topic: Growing Carrots  (Read 3109 times)

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Dorine

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Growing Carrots
« on: January 16, 2014, 03:28:55 PM »
You may be aware that carrots and any root vegetables grown by commercial growers are in danger of heavy metal contamination from the soil they are grown in.  Root vegetables are vulnerable to these poisons and will absorb them out of the soil which is a grave danger to our health.

This is the first winter that I have had success leaving my carrots in the ground and we had our first feed of crisp, juicy, sweet carrots in January. I will never buy another carrot unless it from an organic farm that I trust.

I prepared two raised beds 12 inches deep last spring and planted them in carrot seed by just scattering the seed over the surface, followed by a light layer of my compost. I then added a thin layer of woodchips. The first bed we ate from during the summer and fall. The second one I left and prepared for winter by covering with a very think layer of chopped up leaves (at least 6 inches) and then piled bags of leaves that had been raked up from the lawn. The main thing is to mulch heavily. It will keep the carrots from freezing, crisp them up and make them super sweet. What a treat it is in the middle of winter. They would make the most delicious juice. I haven't juiced them yet but will soon.

We live in the North and it gets very cold. So this can be done anywhere.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 09:57:25 PM »
Thanks, Dorine. I can't wait to eat winter carrots!!  We need to get the timing down for planting from seed for winter harvest. That will differ for different climates, but the principle will be the same. I assume we need to plant early enough to get the plant up and growing well before we lose sun and heat?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2014, 02:17:50 AM »
Where winters are milder I wouldn't think the mulching and timing would be as critical as for a harsh climate. I wish I had more knowledge about this for other climates. Yes it is important to have them at a good size by the time the colder weather starts.

Soil is very important too. I never dig my ground. I only add mulch and compost to it in layers and my ground now is very soft. I never have to thin my carrots. The carrots I just pulled from my garden were all in a group touching each other and none were crooked or curled around each other. As they grew the loose soil allowed them to push away from each other. Any weeding that it needs is actually fun. It pulls out so easily but you only need to run the rake through them and they pull up and eventually becomes nurishment for the soil.

My soil is built up each fall with compost made from seaweed, kitchen scraps, weeds (without seedheads), wood ashes, chopped up dry leaves and any old soil. I never mix it so it takes about 6 months to a year before it's ready to put on the garden.

When I first started my garden my carrots were very disappointing. They were crooked, hard to pull out of my compacted soil, critters got at them and they were not sweet. My improved soil has changed all that. It has taken 3 years to get it to where it is today but I saw an improvement the first year I applied woodchips as mulch. Now I'm using chopped leaves because I'm running out of woodchips.

Here is a picture of the carrot bed taken this past summer that we are now eating from in January.


This year I will plant several more beds of carrots now that I know I can overwinter them.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 04:28:12 PM »
Those carrots are beautiful, Dorine!  How long can we let them stay in the ground? From seed planting until the last pull?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 01:55:50 AM »
There is no time limit. I will continue to use mine until they are gone but will allow a few to stay in the ground so they can go to seed. They go to seed the second year so this summer I will get seed. This will be a first for me for saving carrot seed. We do have wild carrots (Queen Anne's Lace) all over our property that will cross with the carrots making the seed useless. I'm hoping the carrots will go to seed before the wild carrots flower. I'll keep you posted on how it all turns out.


But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 10:42:28 AM »
Carrots planted now will still be good next winter?  How about the summer heat, will that do them in?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 01:11:35 PM »
What if you planted a bed of them now  for this summers use and then another one in the end of July or first of August to over winter. Is that possible? July and August plantings would need extra care starting out because of the heat. (Shade and extra water until they germinate)

You could certainly experiment with planting now and see how they would do until next winter but at some point they are going to go to seed on you. Personally if you have enough room I think it's best to plant twice.

Carrots love wood ashes and not too much nitrogen. If you already have very alkaline soil you don't need to add wood ashes.

I'm not sure how much help this is. I wish I was more familiar with your climate. I remember when we moved here from Bermuda Dad tried planting his garden the same way he did in Bermuda. Did not work. He had to learn to work with the frost dates which was not an issue there.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 08:40:55 PM »
Dorine, you've helped a lot. I did not know they liked alkaline soil. My alkaline soil is clay. Not much good for carrots! :(  But, we surely can put a few ashes in the raised beds.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 02:55:00 PM »
Waded through 3 ft. snow drifts today and uncovered a portion of my carrot bed. It has been the coldest winter in several years. (windchill factor of -29 degrees F.) I dug out the bags of leaves, pulled back the thick layer of loose leaves and dug out a pot full of cold, crisp, deliciously sweet carrots. What a treat. Why haven't I tried this before? I am hooked. There's no reason this won't work with any root crop.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Mimi

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 03:22:50 PM »
Covered. Minus 29 and you could still eat them? Amazing!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 03:40:23 PM »
Covered. Minus 29 and you could still eat them? Amazing!
Sorry....that should have been -19 degrees F. but that is still cold and yes they were perfect. Better actually than in the summer.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Mimi

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 04:17:14 PM »
That is amazing! And it means I can do that where I live! YAY!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Dorine

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 05:10:58 PM »
That is amazing! And it means I can do that where I live! YAY!

You sure can.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2014, 02:37:54 PM »
Yes, cold storage in ground!!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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Re: Growing Carrots
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2014, 02:48:44 PM »
Dorine, you've helped a lot. I did not know they liked alkaline soil. My alkaline soil is clay. Not much good for carrots! :(  But, we surely can put a few ashes in the raised beds.


I don't know. My soil is fairly heavy clay with a neutral ph  (7)and I had carrots over 3" in diameter. I till it as deep as possible (about 8 inches). There are varieties  of carrots like Danvers Half long that tend not to grow as long. They work well in heavy clay. There  is also a carrot that grows like a baseball and only goes down 2-3 ". My all time favorite carrot is an heirloom. St. Valery gets very big and stays nice and tender and tasty. I had some go to seed the first year and was able to save a bunch of seeds. Baker Creek Heirloom seeds is a good source of seeds and I believe it is SDA owned.
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