This Week’s Harvest
- Poblano Peppers
- Shishito Peppers
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Bell Peppers
- Salad Mix
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Onions
- Yellow Watermelon
- Salt and Pepper Cucumbers
- Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
With sweet corn, melons and tomatoes all producing right now we are definitely at the height of our summer season. We are finally enjoying the fruits of all of the labor that we have been putting in to grow these favorite crops. At the same time we can’t help looking we forward to fall. Perhaps it is longing for cooler weather and shorter days. Or perhaps it is prepping the kids to go back to school. Whatever the reason we are already looking forward to all of the different flavors and vegetables that will be at their peak in the coming months. Especially important to our fall lineup are carrots.
For us the hardest part of growing carrots is the work that we have to put in right around when we are planting the crop. This work begins a couple weeks before we seed the carrots and we continue to baby them until they are nicely established a couple weeks after they poke their initial leaves through the soil surface.
The first step towards fall carrots is finding the ideal place to plant them. Every year we have a plan, but as they say about best laid plans…So, most years we end up juggling around the seeding plan so that we can get the carrots in nicely prepped soil that will be just the right texture to quickly germinate the crop. This year that preparation began back on July 8 when we hilled up soil to form that raised beds where the carrots are seeded.
After this initial hilling we fertilize and till the beds a couple times to prep for seeding and kill the initial weeds that germinate in our freshly worked soil. Ideally we get some rain (but not too much!) during this process in order to germinate weed seeds that we can easily kill with the tiller before we have planted the carrots. Finally once it is time to seed the carrots we shape the beds with a heavy implement that presses the soil into a raised bed with a flat top. Then, we seed! We seeded a little later this year, August 1, than we would like, but the cooler weather last week was ideal for carrot germination so we decided this would have to work.
Once the field has been seeded we need to get water on it, especially if there isn’t any rain in the forecast. We use a sprinkler that produces really fine droplets of water to do this in order to prevent the top layer of soil from forming a crust that would hinder the small carrot seedlings from poking through the surface. At the same time as we need to keep the soil wet, we don’t want to put on too much water that we rot any of the seed. This year we had to water the carrots for a couple hours every day or two.
It generally takes carrots 5-7 days to germinate with summer temperatures and consistent water. So 4-5 days after seeding we start digging up carrots to see how their germination is progressing. We do this because if the carrots haven’t poked through the surface of the soil we can burn off any small weeds that have germinated before the carrots. This year we burned off all the little weeds at the end of the fifth day after we seeded and we started to see the first carrots poking through the surface the next day. We are happy to report that now eight days after seeding we have a nice patch of carrots that we get to spend the next couple of weeks weeding! It will all be worth it in October when we hopefully start digging up and enjoying these carrots.
Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…) Salad mix, watermelon, basil, beets, onions, sweet Italian peppers, sweet corn, carrots, tomatoes!