I have been having carrot envy. I didn't plant any this spring and I keep seeing carrot harvests on other peoples blogs. Is coveting your neighbor's carrots wrong? I figure it certainly isn't wrong to want to pull out little gold nuggets from the soil, so I needed to rectify the situation
A couple of weeks ago I bought some carrots seed on sale at the garden center. Big Top and Danvers was what was left on the racks, so those are the varieties that I bought. Danvers said it was good in clay soil. Hmm clay soil, I have that. Though my soil does have a lot of organic matter, so it is not too bad.
I figured I would wait until the middle of July to plant them and have nice fall carrots. My early peas ought to be mostly done by then, and maybe the coriander in front of the peas would have set seed. I would have a nice place for them. It sounds good doesn't it. But my peas keep going. They won't stop even though I'm secretly wanting them to die. They give me way too many peas. I really don't need so much. And my coveting of other people's carrots has gotten out of hand. So I pulled 2/3s of my peas. I left the late seeded peas since I still want a few.
Then I dug. And sifted it with my garden fork. And got rid of roots and rocks. Carrots don't like to hit objects in the soil when they grow. They like nice fluffy soil, not my clay - despite what the Danvers seed packet said. I'm also a little worried about growing the carrots where the peas where growing. The pea roots have lots of little nodules on them, better known as nitrogen. Carrots don't really like that much nitrogen. So I tried to get most of the roots out of the bed. My compost pile is well fed today.
My beds are four feet wide. I made four rows. One row for Big Top a large late carrot, two rows for Danvers and one row that I haven't planted yet for my fall peas. I've ordered some tall snowpeas and put in a trellis for them. I usually plant double rows of peas, but this time I'm going to make a single row. I have too much trouble finding the dang peas when I pick. One row will be so much easier.
As you can see in the photo, I covered the soil with burlap (it is dark brown because it is left over from a costume I made for my son years ago). Carrot seed takes a long time to germinate and they are not always reliable. I've never used burlap before, but some bloggers claim it makes the seed germinate better. I'm all for that. With the really heavy rains the seed needs some protection and the burlap will keep the soil from crusting over.