Carrot mystery solved!

So I have three areas with carrots.

The main green bean bed had two dozen carrot sets strewn in front- (because of the way carrots grow in a 6 pack of carrots from the gardening center there is a ton more than just 6 plants.)

Until the romaine and chard sprouts the carrots are all that’s in this bed.

While those were growing I thought- hey I should get some more! And threw more sets into a crappy plastic rectangle planter that was kinda deep- and some more sets into a round ceramic planter because… why not?

( I swear that last bit makes sense- see I don’t want fully grown huge carrots, I want half grown babies that are big enough to be sweet but still have a nice texture, so a slightly more constrained growing environment is ok for my purposes.)

Now while the two carrot pots have definitely had some aphid issues- as I care not at all about the greens and all about the roots, this causes me much less consternation than aphids on beans does. (Doesn’t mean I’m not killing all the aphids I can, because they can be spread to other, more delicate plants by ants)

Here’s the mystery- I planted the bean bed carrots before the potted carrots, and yet the bean bed carrots are tiny and not good tasting, while the potted carrots are bigger and delicious. What gives?

Because it’s the bean bed!

See you don’t want to over-fertilize carrots- or even fertilize them at all, because the nitrogen promotes leaf growth not root growth. Any root crop you don’t want to fertilize except with organic matter like light compost. Knowing that- I didn’t fertilize my carrots.

But they were in the same bed as beans!

Legumes fix nitrogen to the soil! That was the whole point behind indigenous Americans planting them with corn and squash- the three sisters would support each other, with the corn stalk providing support for the beans, the spiky squash leaves deterring pests, and the beans fixing nitrogen to the soil feeding the other plants!

So the carrots in the bean bed got too much nitrogen, and despite being a month older than the other two carrot pots- they’re just borked!

I’m not sure I can fix this- but lesson learned! What makes beans so great to plant with squash and other veggies, makes it death to carrots.

I’m thinking of making a dedicated carrot bed tucked away in a corner of the garden so I can have carrots year round. In our climate we can get away with carrots year round supposedly and I’d love to try that.

The carrots I picked and cooked were amazing- just buttery and smelling like a carrot times a thousand. There’s just no comparison to a supermarket carrot.

Mystery solved!


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