wazzaaahp doc?

The carrots that started out their lives sprouting under a piece of plywood came of age. Of course there were a few that looked like fat six-legged orange snowmen, but I’m very pleased with the harvest. About 35 lbs. worth; more than we have room to store. The orange snowmen didn’t make the cut, but they’ll go to a friend’s horses.

IMG_5130

IMG_5131

After pulling the carrot crop, I fired up the chicken tiller in that spot. Awesome.

IMG_5133

Making evening rounds, tucking tomato vines into place inside their cages, I felt something soft.

IMG_5134

I gave it a fighting chance in the chicken pen. It lost.

bonanza

My daughter is the co-manager of the local grocery, and last night she stopped by with two enormous boxes full of this season’s unsold seeds, which the store gets rid of after they don’t sell.  They were all from Burpee, and there were hundreds, if not thousands of packages.  I got to sift through them before they went to the local food bank where my wife serves as secretary.  What a rush.  (I wasn’t greedy, I promise, and I’ll donate some of the results).

IMG_4804
Meanwhile, I decided to harvest the rest of the kohlrabi crop for freezing.
IMG_4800 IMG_4801
Later in the day I also decided that it might be safe to remove the fencing that I had put around the beans. My experience has been that the critters only chew the tops off the young, tender plants. I hope that holds true this year.
IMG_4805

The variety in the middle of the picture (Maxibel) tends to get too tall to stay upright. It grows taller than most bush beans but it’s not really tall enough to be a vine. I’m trying rope between stakes for support. It’s a real pain digging around in flopped-over bean plants for the reward. But the beans themselves are so good; long and thin and tender.

And the carrots are finally getting to the point where they’ll start shading out their own weeds. I like that.

IMG_4806

carrots under board

One of the weirdo ideas that has found a place in my book of goofy things that actually work is sprouting carrot seeds under a board. This is the second year I’ve done it, and I have to admit it works flawlessly (providing you pay attention around the time the seeds are due to sprout and remove the board immediately).

IMG_4561

It took almost exactly two weeks from the time I put the seeds into the ground till they sprouted. I only had to pull out one lanky weed seedling in the 30-ish square feet of planted area. Carrots had been frustrating for me for many years, rows with large empty spaces and lots of random weeds dispersed among the seedlings.

IMG_4671 IMG_4672

There’s still a little more nurse-maiding to do; mulching and thinning (it’s always so hard to murder innocent young seedlings). But after that, piece of cake.

let it go, let it go

No matter how long you’ve been gardening, there’s always a twinge of worry when you first place your infant seedlings at the mercies of nature. Even when you’ve done the same thing year after year and you know they’ll probably be just fine, there’s still a little voice saying ‘Maybe they should have been hardened off a few more days’ or ‘Maybe that cold night coming up will be too much’.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the onion seedlings went out yesterday. There’s a 30° F night coming up this week, something they’ve never experienced. But I guess it’s like raising hundreds of little green smelly kids. You have to let them face life eventually. You use your best judgement and hope your guess is right.

IMG_4559IMG_4560

Last year for the first time I covered my freshly planted carrot seeds with a board before they sprouted. The theory is that the darkness keeps most weeds from sprouting and the board keeps the seeds moist. It’s a method that requires close attention; you need to remove the board immediately when the carrots sprout. But it worked great for me.

I had a junk piece of plywood left over from building the chicken coop that was exactly the same size as my carrot bed, so here’s hoping…

IMG_4561