This time I have better soil and have more experience as a gardener. I read a few of my gardening books and decided to try carrots, swedes and turnips. We eat lots of carrots, I would say we eat nearly one carrot a day, but they are so cheap at $1-2/kg, it hasn't been a big priority to grow our own. I thought it would be a nice challenge to see if I could grow our daily carrot in my garden.
|I'm quite pleased with this carrot!|
Anyway, back in Autumn, in late May, I planted a row of purple carrots, a row of orange carrots, a row of swedes and a row of turnips. I planted them directly in the soil. In summer I usually raise seedlings and transplant them later, but I had observed that bok choi seeds that I sprinkled out the Spring before had started sprouting through the mulch in Autumn. I thought that is the bok choi was doing ok, then I would give the root crops a chance too. I scraped back the mulch, dug a shallow furrow (exposing lots of worms!), sprinkled out the seeds (trying to space them a bit) and them put everything back. To my great delight, the seeds started to sprout after about 10 days.
|another example of some root veges|
After a few weeks, when the seedlings had got larger, I tried to thin them. That is a big job! The purple carrots were the worst as the seed had been full of bugs, I didn't think it was going to sprout, so I just chucked it all in the furrow, it seemed to have a very good germination rate! I found that I had to re-thin every few days. When the carrots got big enough, I just kept the thinnings to eat as baby carrots. With the swedes and turnips, I replanted into staggered rows so that I didn't have to waste any seedlings, but I can see now that some are still too close. I'm not trying to just pull out the biggest ones and give the others more room to grow.
About 2 months after planting, I can now harvest a couple of small carrots for dinner each afternoon. I haven't worked out how to pick the big ones yet, sometimes I think one will be big, and it will just have a large diameter at the top and turn out to be short and stumpy! Occasionally I pull a big one though! I have also been harvesting a swede and/or a turnip. I just cut them up and cook them with the carrot, either steamed, roasted or stir fried has been a nice change to our normal veges.
|cooking the veges|
Now I have seen the space required to grow enough to feed us, I realise the space I would need to feed a cow as well. Nita feeds her cow 5 pounds a day, so about 2.5kg, that amount I have in the ground is probably not much more than 10kg, so we wouldn't last long! For now I have been feeding Bella the tops, which she seems to enjoy.
|the root vegetable patch|
|turnips (a bit close together)|
And so of course my plans for Cheslyn Rise now include a HUGE root crop area for the cow! What root vegetables do you grow for you and your animals?