Surprise! It’s carrots!

My carrot bed still needs a month of growing, although the leafy tops are really spectacular to see; the roots are what we want.

That being said, I decided to see about taking some of the sneaky weeds that are growing with the carrots, (oxalis! *shakes fist at sky*) and I thought I’d thin slightly to give everything the best chance to grow.

Well.

That is a beautiful Kuroda carrot! I looked around the bed and found a few more that were likely eating candidates- gotta eat your thinnings!

I personally like Mr. fancy roots. Him along with the white and purple fellows were part of the “carnival blend” I planted for funsies.

I scrubbed them up- and ate them raw!

I have to say- if there is a verdict, the Kuroda carrots win. They grow so straight and are so tasty- they’re a winner both in the “ease to grow” category, and in the “tastes real nice” category. In the garden sometimes you have to choose between those- in the case of the Kuroda carrots you don’t.

I can’t stress this enough, if you have any small strip of land or a bed or even a pot that is deep enough, you too can grow carrots. From seed is easier than you think, and the taste of a home grown carrot is phenomenal.

You do have to be on top of weeds. Damn oxalis!

Captain’s log: November 1st 2018

It’s always time for a captain’s log when the weather is unseasonable. Today it reached a high of 81 around 1 pm. It is November 1st. God bless San Francisco, never change.

Tomorrow when the weather isn’t quite so melting for a delicate hominid as myself, I have a few tasks. Chief among them is to thin the carrots. As you can see they’re really bushy- they’ve grown really quickly, proving everything I’ve read about growing carrots from seed is incorrect and it is in fact quite easy- if you do things correctly.

The other major task for tomorrow is to try to get a handle on the spinach. The erratic heat has really damaged it- I have to definitely remove the heat damaged leaves and harvest the rest, pull the weedy plants (and the outright weeds) and sow some more spinach plants in the bare areas.

Luckily I’ve gotten some more Japanese spinach to sow:

A different variety this time, but it looked nice and the Japanese varieties tend to be much more heat resistant. Just looking at what I’ve sowed- the monstrueux variety has done much worse than the alrite Japanese variety- when I did get a baby spinach harvest I got much more out of the alrite. I still have some alrite seeds, but they’re more of a baby variety and I wanted something that would grow a bigger plant for harvest, so when I was in Japantown I got this Okame variety for, well, variety! If I have any advice when it comes to plant variety it’s look outside the western paradigm. Humanity has been growing vegetables worldwide since the dawn of agriculture- and that means there are a lot more types of plants then you get in your typical American seed catalogue.

The lettuce is doing well- which is slightly surprising considering the heat wave. This is the advantage of starting from a plant rather than a seed- more heat resistance due to the more established nature of the plant.

While the Swiss chard is also heat damaged- I’ll have to re-sow a few of those- the arugula is just booming. Arugula is almost like a weed- there is no arugula season, as long as the sun is shining and there’s no ice on the ground, it’s arugula season! It’s become my garden snack, if I’m watering in the back- I’m eating some arugula. not sure I’ll have enough for the table- it’s all going in my mouth!

We had a pepper casualty. I was so happy! An all red baby bell pepper ready for harvest! And then I spotted the hole in the bottom… and something moving inside.

NOPE!

I picked it and threw it right into the compost ick ick ick. I also checked all the other almost ripe peppers, and luckily this was the only infested pepper, so I should at least get a few others.

Price of growing plants honestly! 10% of the harvest goes to the bugs! If you’re lucky of course, if you’re unlucky it will be more, but that’s what neem oil is for.

The weird warm weather is causing the basil to sprout flowers again, along with the hyssop. That’s another job for tomorrow- going to have to clip all the flowers so the leaves don’t get bitter.

I’m also going to have to cut back the mint thunderdome, as the top leaves are a little crunchy looking and not as fragrant as the other leaves. The tendril still abides.

The Mitsuba continues to grow, as do all of my pot herbs. We had either a scale insect or mold issue with the base of the lovage- or rather a scale insect issue that turned into a mold issue- either way, that’s what neem oil is for. The lemongrass is growing like a weed which is nice.

The owl guards the sorrel. The sorrel grows. All is good under the gaze of the owl.

Lastly- those are two baby tomatoes. I have counted 4 total, along with dozens of flowers waiting to turn into tomatoes. IT’S NOVEMBER FIRST!!!

I am staying on top of appropriate watering and tomato fertilization, along with both hand killing the red aphids, and using neem oil when appropriate.

This is nuts. I’m going to get late November early December tomatoes.

God damn I love San Francisco.

The new carrot bed is here!

This was a long time in the making but I’m super happy about it.

I’ve been having such a great time with the few carrots I’ve grown in pots. So I bought another 2′ by 4′ raised bed, and I found the perfect place for it.

Plenty of space between the lemon tree and the greenhouse bench! And it’s a shadier spot which is good- too much direct sun isn’t so great for carrots.

All you need for assembly is a mallet! Easy peasy!

Once assembled I took Nancy Palmer’s advice and put a layer of wet newspaper down to help control weeds without the horrible hassle of weed barrier. (Thank you very much for the advice Nancy!)

Then it was just a matter of filling the darn thing and planting in it!

I chose three varieties of carrot that I like.

The Kuroda are great long varieties while the red cored Chantenay are nice and plump- and the carnival blend is just fun.

Rainbow carrots!

Anyways carrots are actually kinda tricky to grow from seed, so I had to be really careful planting them. First I scattered more seed then I thought I needed in the bed, divided in three areas, maybe a third of each packet. Then you’re supposed to press the seed lightly into the ground and water well.

Problem is- it’s a lot of seed so pressing it all in is more work and bother then I’m willing to do- so instead I scattered a little more potting soil over the top- just a few cup fills after I watered well- then I watered well again.

The reason to do it like this is so the dry soil on top is a different color of the wet soil beneath so it’s easy to tell when you’ve scattered on enough.

The real tricky bit is that carrots don’t sprout for like three weeks plus and they won’t sprout at all if they aren’t nice and moist. Some people cover their carrots while they’re in their sprouting phase but since this bed is in a shady spot I think it’ll be ok.

The other tricky bit is that you have to over-sow and then thin- if they’re too spread apart they won’t grow right- but once they’re bigger if they aren’t thinned far enough apart they’ll grow all scrunched. Carrots are a paradox!

Carrots fresh from your garden are so good- and you can basically grow them everywhere. As long as it isn’t baking or freezing- it’s carrot season.

The smallest little strip of land can support carrots- pots too. You don’t have to buy your soil either- just work your own ground well.

It’ll be a while til I have these carrots, but the ground is the perfect storage medium for a root veggie, just pull what you you need when, and let the ground keep the rest fresh til you need it. There’s a reason carrots are such a staple food in multiple cultures.

Grow carrots! It’s a little bit of effort for not much money and your reward is delicious crisp carrots!