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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Its time to plant Carrots

Carrots are very yummy crunchy things full of goodness. The Queen of veggies they say . I think broccolli  is the King? Anyway, lovely though they are and good keepers, they are a difficult crop in hot & dry or cold & wet conditions, which unfortunately  describes  good old WA. Sure they are easy of you want to drain an aquifer  like the guys around Myalup are up to..... running literally thousands of sprinklers on sand all through the hot days, no doubt using an arsenal of chemicals and fertilizers as well,  is how they get their truckloads of carrots for The Duopoly. Everybody and the environment will pay down the line for the cheap carrots purchased today.
However we can withdraw our support from such operators,  shun the $1.50 a kg carrots and grow way safer, tastier and more nutrient dense carrots with Earth care as our priority in the following manner:
First "chook" the area to weed and fertilise,



I dont mind leaving some old brocoli or chard plants for shade. They will sprout chook food again too. 
 Move the rotary hoes (chooks)  out. Hose the level bed until wet right down at least 6 inches. Now this can be a long process......maybe  a few days of short applications until the soil accepts water easily.  Then mulch the whole wetted bed with grass clippings ( I get mine from the tip, as long as there are no dead beetles and there are plenty of weedy plants represented I am pretty sure it is safe) Any weed free, fine mulch is good, but make it at east 2 inches ( 50 mm) thick  Make  small furrows in that, then trickle in the seed . I go tap tap tap on the packet and try to get a few seeds coming out at a time. OK , its a skill .  You can  mix the seed with dry sand to help spread it . Cover with  with half  a  cm worm casts or compost, hose again, cover that with thin layer seed free fine sawdust and PRESS down.  Work quickly to cover each row of compost immediately , as the wonderful microbes in it die if exposed to ultraviolet light,.THEN cover the area with chemical free hessian
http://www.morriganfarm.com.au/?m=product&i=76&hessian-material

or that lovely floating row cover white stuff . This is worth the expense. You can water through it, it keeps stray creatures off the emerging carrots which by now represent a lot of time and effort on your part,  it lasts and can be re used many times.  See John's online shop  here.
I  water  the bed  once a day for 2 weeks, by which time the hessian or old sheets should be lifted off as most carrots should be just visible.
Carrots  do do better for me in  good soil unlike what all the books say. Maybe they  fail for me in sandy soil they recommend, perhaps  because our sandy soil just too easily dries out .
February is the ideal time to grow carrots. Just make sure it is in the waning phase of the moon, but you can get your bed ready and mulched before hand, just sow the seed soon after the full moon. If you ignore moon planting or buy dodgy seed (where the people inexpertly saved the first plants to go to seed) you may get all tops and no carrot. To avoid this calamity get our seeds here

Weed your carrots while they are small and also thin them out where crowded and eat the tiny things in salads. I plant radishes with my carrots as companion planting is the go and if the carrots fail I will at least get something .

 I find if you baby your carrots with daily weeding and water for the first few weeks then  they are easy peasey after that, just needing a deep water once a week. The mulch means weeding isn't too bad and soil doesn't dry out between irrigations.



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