Friday, June 25, 2010

True Baby Carrots!

Botanical Interests' Daucus carota var sativas!  :~)

Here are a few of the first of my 'Little Finger' carrots, started from seed back in late April.  My first ever homegrown carrots!  Their seeds are miniscule and like to be soaked in water for 12 hours before planting.  Sowing the seeds--which aren't much bigger than one of these dashes--is made easier by the fact that four or so are planted per inch in rows roughly a foot apart.  Thinning occured once their greens were a good inch high.  I pulled a few around day 50, but the ones above were pulled on day 60 (seed packet states 57 days).

From all that I've read on the subject, carrots like deep soil mixed with lots of compost and peat.  So I mixed LOTS of compost and peat deep into the soil (7-8" down), achieving (I think) a 50/50 mix-to-soil ratio overall.  I've read that the small forking as seen on a couple carrots in the picture above could be due to old roots or small stones in the soil.  That is, as the roots of the growing carrots extend down into the soil, they are easily inhibited by the smallest of obstacles.  But the forking could also be due to excess nitrogen (N), which I may have unintentionally contributed to (more about that in a bit).  Regardless, these "true" baby carrots, which average 3-1/2" long, are sweet and tender.  While they are purported to be perfect for pickling/canning, they'll never get that far between our snacking on them, eating them in salads, and treating our dog!  Read on for info on companion planting and nitrogen info!