Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The vegetables that are left to harvest in the deep fall (or pre-winter days of November) are all subterranean.

Subterranean means existing underground.

Have you ever thought about how hostile the environment must be where the carrots thrive.

Let's think about that for a minute.

Root crops have a tremendous ability to resist rot and decay. A damp, earthy environment full of bacteria, fungus and soil critters should be a recipe for instant compost. Yet not only don't they decay,  but they thrive. Why is this.

Well first they are living systems. I am choosing my word carefully here. Note I did not say "living organisms", though they are all of that, but so much more. Root crops live in synergy with the surrounding organisms which form a system. Botanists call this living system a rizosphere. This is literally a community formed by the plant (or root) for the benefits of all the organisms in the system.
People make fun of folks for talking to their plants but roots communicate to the surrounding organisms with great alacrity (meaning early and often). The root hairs send out sugar exudates and the bacteria and fungi come a running to do the plants bidding. (Actually it probably just stimulates the growth of bacteria and fungi that are already in the running involved.) These micro organisms then return nutrients to the plant, just as the designer specified. This is a pretty slick trick, that science doesn't completely understand yet.

So enough with the science lesson. Root crops like carrots, parsnips and beets live in a pretty tough environment and thrive. Turns out these anti-bacteria and anti-fungal properties can be used by our bodies to keep parasitical bacteria and fungi in check. This balance happens mostly in our digestive tract. Roots have all the fiber, vitamins and phytonutrietns to keep digestion in tip top condition.

So even though the summer abundance maybe limited in the fall and winter. The root crops can see us through the "cold and dark" of winter in fine shape.

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