Friday, August 2, 2013

Be A Carrot, It Is Worth The Wait

A few weeks ago I planted 100,000 candy carrots. This quantity of seeds planted 7 rows 400 feet each or about 2800 feet (about a 1/2 mile) of row. It takes 14-21 days for the carrots seed to germinate and emerge. The tricky part about planting carrots in the summer is keeping them moist enough to germinate if you hit a dry stretch of weather. I have learned to plant carrots at this time of the year where I can get a hose to them to water.

For this particular planting I did something a little unusual in that I planted the rows about 20 inches apart. I normally plant them about 40 inches apart so I can use the rototiller to weed between the rows. So this is about twice the planting density I normally do. I did this to experiment with my new Hoss wheel hoe, which can weed a much narrower row. If everything goes as planned we will have some outstanding and delicious carrots for late summer and fall.

I was reading about how carrots send down a tap root seeking moisture even before the spindly little fronds appear. Sounds like carrots have their priorities straight. They seek moisture and nutrients and anchor themselves before making an appearance on the world stage. Pretty slick trick by a wise master designer. All that going on before we can see anything. No wonder it takes a couple of weeks before they emerge.

You've heard the old adage that if you want to grow a squash it only takes 6 weeks. If you want an oak it might take a couple of hundred years.

Well now, we know that if you want to grow a carrot (and see it emerge) you must be patient for three weeks until the magic is worked beneath the soil. If you want to grow a radish it only take 3 days for it to emerge and the whole life cycle is only 21 days. So the radish is ready to pick when the carrot is just coming up. But the amazing sweetness of the carrot is something to behold and well worth the wait.

As a farmer, the carrot offers a little more challenge and a lot more reward. Isn't it funny how that works.

Be a carrot; it is well worth the wait.

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