I just learned from Dr. Oz that a cooked carrot releases more beta-carotene for absorption when eaten. Mostly, I just eat them raw while harvesting but recently sautéed some in a pat of butter seasoned with cumin and turmeric. They are also great on the grill. I’m planning to blanch and freeze some for winter as well.
For growing, carrots require deeply-tilled soil and consistent moisture when forming the root. The seed can be sown anytime from spring until the end of July as most types mature in 55-70 days. The seed is slow to germinate, sometimes taking up to 3 weeks which can be troublesome in that weeds begin to grow before the carrot does. Weeding a row of carrot seedlings is tedious; they are delicate and pull out easily. I thought I had solved this problem by starting from transplants. I sowed carrot seed in trays with 288 small cells, they germinated and transplanted easily. This method worked nicely for other root crops like onions and beets however……unlike the onions and the beets the carrots wrapped around each other in a twisted mess! My first 2 plantings went into the juicer and a lesson was learned.
Growers here shoot for the end of July to begin sowing the fall root crops; turnips, rutabagas and the final crops of beets and carrots. Justin tilled up some 200’ rows and I ran out seed with the Earthway seeder, a nifty little device that you push by hand. After selecting the appropriate seed plate and filling the hopper with seed you simply push it along the row. The device makes a furrow, deposits the seed and covers it up all in one pass. Despite the pounding rains I see germination though some seed washed out of the rows.
New beds of lettuce are coming along, hopefully more than the rabbits can eat. I’m trying something suggested to me at market, sprinkling used cat litter around the perimeter of the lettuce beds. Figured it was worth a try since I have to clean the box anyway and maybe those 2 lazy indoor cats will finally earn their keep!
After my tale of woe in the last newsletter about the devastation here from critters I got a lot of feedback from readers and market regulars about their own trials and tribulations. Many shared their methods of coping like the suggestion of the cat litter. Next year I think the overall solution for us will be an electric fence. Sue and Tom Woodworth of MiddleRidge Gardens invited me to have a look at their set-up, which I did. They use a solar powered battery and one strand of wire 6” off the ground. Animal footprints were visible in the soil heading towards the fence and then away from it plus, they’ve had no damage.
About The Wood Road Salad Farm and the Author:
Maggie Fusco and Justin Kopczak have been happily married and growing great produce since 2002. While we are not certified organic we use all natural fertilizers, our produce is pesticide-free, and harvested within 24 hours of coming to market.
We called our farm a “salad” farm because in the beginning we grew mostly lettuces and greens but then one crop led to another, and every season became a new adventure in growing!
Email the author at email@example.com.
Visit The Wood Road Salad Farm at the Willoughby Outdoor Market on Saturdays from 8 am until noon.